TURKEY, THE UNITED STATES AND THE EUROPEAN UNION: STRATEGIC OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES
On October 4, 2011 Charles King Mallory IV addressed a Bilkent International Security and Strategy Seminar (BISSS) at the Bilkent Hotel. Mr. Mallory, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Germany, previously served as a senior advisor to the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs.
Focusing on the issue of transatlantic dialogue, Mr. Mallory spoke about the nature of bilateral relations between Turkey-U.S. and Turkey-EU, in the past and today. He highlighted Turkey’s strategic importance in the Middle East, noting how Turkey’s strength can serve to US and European interests in the region as well. He touched upon three major current challenges that the US, Turkey and the EU have to deal with: the Arab Spring, Iran, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Mr. Mallory presented opportunities of cooperation in which he emphasized the importance of regional economic development and Turkey’s potential contributive role in the future of the Arab Spring. He indicated that Turkey, with its diplomatic and economic assets can play the role of a mediator, and a facilitator between the main players in primary regional conflicts, namely, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Iran nuclear issue). He also suggested that Turkey can provide some economic assistance to the region via strong, well planned economic development plans.
Mr. Mallory argued that in order to avoid having to use military power, effective management of development assistance to be used for educational purposes and to secure markets within failed or failing states is necessary. Emphasizing the importance of international development strategies in reducing security threats, Mr. Mallory suggested that a part of GDP could be spent for development purposes instead of military budgets. In that way, he concluded, as the pie grows, one’s share in percentage terms may be smaller, but in absolute terms it gets bigger.