On the 19th of January, the Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies (CHS) and the Turkish Embassy in Doha co-organized a public conversation between H.E. Professor Mustafa Şentop
, the Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (GNAT), and Professor Sultan Barakat, the Founding Director of CHS. Held at the CHS, the discussion centered on the move towards a new world order considering regional and global developments that have accelerated since the fall of the Soviet bloc, and the implications of this gradual shift on Turkey's foreign policy.
CHS' guiding principles of contextualization, participation, and collaboration inform its efforts to provide relevant policy analysis and practical solutions to key decision-makers. To this end, this public event is an extension of CHS' track record of working closely with key mediator and donor actors to advance mutual learning, in addition to bringing together a range of academics, diplomats, students, journalists, and other interested individuals to promote dialogue.
Following a brief introduction to the event, H.E. Professor Şentop delivered a public address to the live audience that was simultaneously broadcast on CHS' social media platforms. Şentop began his address by advancing the claim that historical change is not only a function of the passing of time, but also of the significance of historical events. Şentop argued that the events of the last 20 years – which include multiple economic downturns, various conflict outbreaks, increasing levels of migration, and a global pandemic – have accelerated the rate of historical change and created new watershed moments in history.
On this basis, H.E. Professor Şentop contended that a new world order is required to address the vulnerabilities of the post-World War II order – which is defined by international institutions such as the United Nations (U.N.), the International Monetary Fund (I.M.F.), and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (N.A.T.O.), the key platforms for the conduct of contemporary international relations. These vulnerabilities include a deep sense of partisanship and polarization amongst states today, in which their membership to certain blocs determines their relations with other countries. Şentop cited the dispute between Russia and Ukraine over Ukraine's membership to the E.U. as evidence to this claim. At the same time, H.E. maintained that states' alliances today vary according to each issue, signaling the irrelevance of 20th century partisan blocs and institutions.
H.E. Professor Şentop concluded his remarks by explaining that the issue of migration will persist in its complexity and salience over the next several decades. He referenced several studies that project the highest global population share in the future to be in Asia and Africa – continents that currently host the most conflict and levels of emigration. To mitigate the high economic, social, and political costs of migration and to re-establish peace, H.E. argued that the new world order should have a global outlook and be based on humanitarian values. He cited the ongoing global pandemic as evidence to the rapid internationalization of localized disease and the costs of unequal administration of vaccines worldwide, such as in the emergence of new variants of the coronavirus in areas with disproportionately less vaccine provisions. In both regards, H.E. emphasized Turkey's role in hosting refugees, advancing negotiations, and delivering medical supplies to over 100 countries around the world.
After the public address, H.E. Professor Şentop engaged in an extended conversation with Professor Barakat about the constraints that Turkey's economic downturn places on its visions for enhanced global engagement in a new world order, the difficulties in advancing a new world order informed by humanitarian values, and Turkey's experience in balancing between its regional humanitarian responsibilities and its domestic interests. In his responses, H.E. noted that Qatar and Turkey share a diplomatic approach that is based on humanitarian principles, as seen most recently in their activities in Afghanistan.
In a question-and-answer session with a live audience, H.E. Professor Şentop addressed questions on the form of the new world order and on the viability of N.A.T.O. in light of recent internal tensions. He responded, respectively, that a new world order would take several decades to emerge, and that N.A.T.O. members are seeking out alternative tools to tackle issues more effectively. H.E. also reaffirmed Turkey's commitment to promoting negotiation over conflict.
Overall, the session highlighted the importance of advancing a new world order defined by humanitarian principles from a regional and national perspective, as shown through Turkey's leadership in taking on considerable humanitarian responsibilities. Fundamentally, this is achieved through promoting dialogue and conversation as means to settle disputes and nurture understanding – a cornerstone of Turkey and the MENA region's shared Islamic culture.