Global Relations Forum and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) organized the “Working Session of the Club of Three on Europe and Turkey” on June 26-27, in Istanbul, with the support of Robert Bosch Stiftung. The meeting was part of GRF and ISD’s collaboration under the auspices of the “Club of Three” initiative, which is a forum for debate and dialogue between leaders from Britain, France and Germany on the major geo-strategic, economic and social issues. The meeting was the second organization of the GRF-ISD collaboration, the first one being “Club of Three Plenary Meeting on Turkey and its Neighbours”, which was held in Paris in December 2014.
The meeting began on June 26 with an opening dinner at the Rahmi M. Koç Museum, with the attendance of men and women of influence in the fields of politics, media, arts and business from France, Germany, Turkey and the UK. The guest speaker was the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. During his speech, Minister Çavuşoğlu shared his assessments on the current state of Turkey’s relations with Europe as well as the countries of the region, emphasizing the importance of maintaining the cooperation between Turkey and the EU countries.
On June 27, the meeting began with the opening speeches by GRF President Mr. Memduh Karakullukçu and Club of Three President Lord Simon of Highbury. Afterwards, the first session entitled “Shifting Regional Balances, Changing Fault Lines, Nuclear Dilemmas” took place with a focus on the implications of a potential Iranian nuclear deal on the region, the role for Europe and Turkey in the power struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and the formation of a common policy for the instability in Iraq and Syria.
During the second session, “Energy Cooperation: The Low-Hanging Fruit of European-Turkish Strategic Convergence?”, the discussion revolved around the low energy price environment and the resulting strategic risk of underinvestment, the political implications of Turkish Stream and Southern Gas Corridor projects, and the prospects of the European Energy Union for strategic convergence with Turkey.
The afternoon sessions of the meeting began with a special session on Turkish and European elections, with the attendance of journalist and commentator Ms. Aslı Aydıntaşbaş as keynote speaker. Afterwards, Ambassador Ayşe Sinirlioğlu, the G-20 Sherpa of Turkey, delivered a keynote address on Turkey’s G-20 presidency. The meeting was then concluded with the final session entitled “Global Economic Governance: A Domain for Turkish-European Cooperation or Controversy”, with discussions on the effectiveness of the G-20 as an instrument of global governance, the role for Europe and Turkey in addressing economy and trade related global governance challenges, and the future of TTIP.