Fletcher School Senior Associate Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti opens "Turkey's Turn?" by noting, "The most important part of this year's title is the question mark," as the conference sought to find actionable insight in the answers.
Burak Kararti, the Turkish Consul General to Boston, offered his remarks on the two-day conference and his hope for for the future of Turkey as a "force for peace and stability in its region and beyond."
A Professor of International Relations and Political Science at Istanbul Kadir Has University, Soli Ozel (left) moderated the first panel of the conference, looking to provide "A Grand Tour" of Turkey, pointing out the country's place on the "mental map of the global community" in the past year.
Pinar Tremblay, a lecturer in political science at Cal Poly Pomona, brought context to the results of the recent municipal elections in Turkey and the hold of the governing AKP, noting the success of opposition parties "hasn't translated into results and capturing political power."
As Soli Ozel (left) and Murat Guvenc (center) listen on, former Ambassador James Holmes (right) shed light on the state of the relationship between the United States and Turkey, saying recent events in Turkey have left "a bitter taste in the mouth of political Washington."
As Loyola University Chicago professor Gunes Murat Tezcur told the audience, the "Kurdish problem" is always present in Turkey but particularly noteworthy now, as "it is the first time in the Modern Middle East that there are armed movements in all four pieces of the Kurdish nation."
An audience member poses a question to the opening panel of "Turkey's Turn?"
Director of the Urban Studies Research Center Research Center at Istanbul Sehir University, Murat Guvenc (center), answers an audience member's question surrounding the recent municipal elections.
Borsa Istanbul Chairman and CEO Ibrahim Turhan gives the first keynote speech at "Turkey's Turn?", quelling fears about the future. "Turkey is still on its track. Turkey is a train moving at a high speed toward the West. Some people on the train may be turned towards to the East but the train is still heading West."
Tufts University Political Science Chair Malik Mufti (left) and Fletcher School Professor Zeynep Bulutgil (right) moderated the conference's second panel, looking deeper at Turkey's place in the geopolitical landscape.
"Large numbers of Turks had internalized over the years the Republican foreign policy," Steven Cook of the Council on Foreign Relations said, pointing to the tenets of that policy as the "peace at home, peace in the region approach."
The SETA Foundation's Kadir Ustun pointed out the long-term political rationale in Turkey has remained unchanged, as "the idea in the long run is that administrations based on people’s will will succeed, and Turkey as a democratic power will be well-positioned to take advantage of that situation, but the country remains in flux at the moment.”
"Turkey's Turn?" attendees take in the conference's panel on Geopolitics featuring, from left to right, Malik Mufti of Tufts University, Zeynep Bulutgil of The Fletcher School, Kemal Kirisci of the Brookings Institute, Kadir Ustun of SETA Foundation, and Steven Cook of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Visiting Professor of Conflict Resolution at The Fletcher School, Elizabeth Prodromou (left), moderated "At the Energy Crossroads: Turkey's Pipeline Democracy," featuring DAMNUS Energy & Investment's Nusret Comert (right), Mehmet Ogutcu from the Global Resources Corporation, and Joshua Walker of APCO Worldwide.
Mehmet Ogutcu (right), Chairman of the Global Resources Corporation, underscored Turkey's important place in the energy space as "the world's energy demand and supply maps are being redrawn," with Turkey both as a major conduit and heavy importer, as Nusret Comert (left) looks on.
Director of the Center on the United States and Europe's Turkey Project at the Brookings Institute, Kemal Kirisci, asks as question of his fellow speakers during a panel at "Turkeys Turn?"
APCO Worldwide's Director of Global Programs, Joshua Walker (right), discusses Turkey's importance to the region's flow of energy, noting, "to get energy out of the region, you have to go through Turkey. Turkey has made itself a player and put itself on the map using its location."
Senior Associate Dean at The Fletcher School, Bhaskar Chakravorti (right), congratulates James Rockas, winner of the "Turkey's Turn?" essay contest, on his winning essay, the speculative "How the West Lost Turkey."
Admiral James Stavridis, Dean of the Fletcher School, discusses Turkey's future, stating, "the key question is not whether Turkey will play a global role, but rather what is the Turkish role globally,"
Fletcher student Andrew Lala describes Clair de Lune, a solar light distributor platform created by Andrew and fellow Fletcher student Tommy Galloway, to the audience at "Turkey's Turn?" The duo won $15,000 for the project through the Fletcher D-Prize Poverty Solutions Venture Competition.
Admiral James Stavridis (right), Dean of The Fletcher School, presents Fletcher student Andrew Lala (left) with a $15,000 check as an prize for the Fletcher D-Prize Poverty Solutions Venture Competition.
Opera singer Onur Ertur (center) closes the first day of the conference with his performance of Turkish folkloric music.
Arthur Sculley (left), Senior Fellow with the Council on Emerging Market Enterprises at The Fletcher School, guides the discussion as he moderates a panel on "Turkey as a Regional Business Center."
John McCarthy of ING Bank in Istanbul gave his thoughts as part of the panel on "Turkey as a Regional Business Center," rebuffing present concerns over doing business in the country, as "long-term prospects for multinational corporations remain positive, but in the short-term we’re in a period of noise."
Solen Altop of Yatas Furniture Company and Solen Global Consulting told the audience of the legacy of "Anatolian Tigers," and looked to the future in Turkey with the country in need of "education that includes free thinking and expression."
MIT Professor of Economics and best-selling author of "Why Nations Fail," Daron Acemoglu, painted a vivid picture of the political and economic structure of Turkey, pointing to "institutional rebalancing and economic broadening" as the keys for the country to move forward.
"Turkey's Turn?" attendees and speakers remain rapt during the keynote speech from Daron Acemoglu, Professor of Economics at MIT and best-selling author of "Why Nations Fail."
MIT Professor of Economics and Best-Selling author of "Why Nations Fail," Daron Acemoglu, sits down with Bhaskar Chakravorti, Senior Associate Dean at The Fletcher School, for a Question & Answer Session following his keynote address.
"We have used all the muscle we have; now we need to use brains," Haluk Unal, Professor of Finance at the University of Maryland and President of the Turkish American Scientists and Scholars Association (TASSA), said in his Fireside Chat on "The State of Human Capital: Turkey's Intellectual Contributions."
Fletcher alumna and board member at Turcas Petrol A.S., Neslihan Tombul (center), summarized the Turkish financial sector's past, present and future, claiming, "we've been imitating for a long time, but we can't build the economy based on imitation only."
As Head of the World Bank Global Center for Islamic Finance, now located in Istanbul, Zamir Iqbal noted the potential he sees in Turkey to become the regional hub for Islamic financial transactions.
The Fletcher School Senior Associate Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti chats with Fletcher student Sarah Willis-Ertur following the conference.
"The key question is not whether Turkey will play a global role, but rather what is the Turkish role globally."
Admiral James Stavridis, USN
Dean, The Fletcher School, Tufts University
Former Supreme Allied Commander, NATO
Institute for Business in the Global Context
Master of International Business
Council on Emerging Market Enterprises