Istanbul Security Conference was Held by TASAM

Date: Issue 72 - March 2017

The Istanbul Security Conference 2016 was held by TASAM and National Defense and Security Institute in Istanbul. “Change in State Nature: Borders of Security” was the main theme. 

The first Conference was organized in 2015 in Turkey, and this year’s second annual Istanbul Security Conference was held at the Radisson Blu Hotel Şişli on 02-04 November 2016. National and Global security problems, global governance mechanisms and cooperation were discussed at this year’s conference, which created anticipation and enthusiasm regionally and globally and was held with the participation of 400 distinguished guests.

 Opening remarks were given by TASAM Chairman Mr. Süleyman Şensoy, High Consultant Committee Member of National Defense and Security Institute Governor Assoc. Prof. Hasan Canpolat, National Security Minister of Uganda Henry Tumukende, Economy Minister of Afghanistan Mr. Abdul Sattar Murad and Parliamentary Secretary of Defense of Pakistan Ch. Jaffar Iqbal.

TASAM Chairman Mr. Süleyman Şensoy continued in his speech by saying that this year’s theme “Change in State Nature: Borders of Security” brings to the forefront discussions regarding institutional infrastructure insufficiency, revealing deficiencies to be addressed, in the midst of the changing the nature of the state.  

The mindset of state and structural transformation requires much time, resources and work. Yet the world’s rapid change does not allow us the required time. Thus we see countries, which cannot keep up with the changing world, that are scattered and face instability. The world takes shape within three parameters. These are what we mention often, main rivalry parameters between the West and the East: “micro-nationalism, “integration” and “unpredictability” form the entire world. Micro-nationalismin the process, started with Collapse of the Soviet Union, Collapse of Soviets, separation of Yugoslavia to 8 parts, separation of Sudan to two parts, and then there peaceful separations that are transformed into a more devastating and destructive process such as with Arab Spring. Especially Turkey, should carefully analyze the risks of micro-nationalism in the region. The issue of micro-nationalism contains various differences, and has conflict potential by characterization, just based on ethnicity. Thus it seems that the concept of micro-nationalism will form the next decade in a risk perspective that stretches from the most advanced countries to third world countries. In the next 10-20 years, we should consider, scenarios which are based on valid data, that a new international system will be formed, comprising of 400-2000 members.  I want to attract attention toward countries analyzing risks of their own countries and to take infrastructural precautions.

Regional Integration Gaining Momentum 

Mr. Şensoy stressed that the “EU-Model Integration” has gaining momemtum all over the world for some time, and said: “the entire world goes through regional integrations under the leadership of certain countries. The significant thing that the EU process and experience taught to the world is integration shouldn’t be very tight. Because the present point of the EU is “failure in success”. We have to predict the organizations’ flexibility, then the EU will grow stronger and international system will be successful through process in the future within a period of 15 years.” 

Mr. Şensoy highlighted the “unpredictability” parameter and added that the parameter is stand out the 3rd main element in whole world. Mr. Şensoy said “Also there are main challenges that can’t be classified neither as West nor East but affects whole world.  So we can determine “change of the nature of the state” and “borders of security” correct, by considering these challenges. Because generally we make detailed debates but there may be a lack in positioning as a whole picture. As I remember, the first conclusion declaration clause of the conference last year was; the truth of unsustainability of the production-consumption formula in the world and the present formula is the most serious security threat. When we consider continually production-consumption and the world that has to develop through this formula, both countries GDP size and companies size, family income; unsustainability of the system is obvious.

The second main challenge is “liquidation of middle strata”. A strong middle class created by USSR’s lever in Europe especially after the 1950’s are being dissolved by the Chinese lever in the last decade. It is valid for the entire world. Lots of countries have the same problem and there is a serious recession especially in the labor market and conditions of the middle strata. This fact appears as one of the main fields of security issues when we consider the countries, they have no middle class, they are being obliged to confront chaos or authoritarian regimes. We need to consider that there is a significant dissolving of the middle class starting from the most advanced countries in the West, however it is stabilized a little by the standards of production and consumption, by China’s involvment in the global market. Some services and material can be reached cheaper. Still we should consider that is under risk of sustainability in the mean of resources.”

Transition to fourth dimension and Security Infrastructure 

TASAM Chairman Mr. Süleyman Şensoy drew attention to the “transition to fourth dimension” and added “Frequently discussed as Industry 4.0, described as dialogue of machines with each other and a process expressing transformation in industry, but should be underlined as it appears in every field of life and transition to fourth dimension should be governed with security parameters and security infrastructure. One of the most important results of transition to fourth dimension is the liquidation of human resource in labor.  The aging population in the West has triggered it. Nevertheless it seems like, by a significant extent, human resource in labor will be replaced by autonomous devices and robots in 10-20 years.” 

Mr. Şensoy said that countries with stability shortcomings should quickly ask themselves the following question: “How should the state infrastructure be strengthened? How should we institutionalize? And how we can adapt quickly to the world, and we need to generate an output from these discussions. How the institutional infrastructure should look is still a crucial question.  He said that the concept of “hard-power, soft- power” in the world together with “smart power” has gained importance in recent years.  Şensoy stated that no country with instability in the world is destabilizing due to the hard-power concept, on the contrary, it is destabilizing due to soft-power. Therefore, every country needs a soft-power program with a national security concept, human power and technological infrastructure. Mr. Şensoy expressed that it is necessary to transfer resources to the soft-power program, starting from America, which has been successfully implemented in practice and in practice by certain countries.

“We are passing from a period in which countries must spare at least half of their resources for security and defense spending. Hard power has to be transformed into a high technological, rapid and mobilized structure. It is obvious that bulky systems and large armies cannot respond sufficiently. The US follows a similar line with its defense and security reforms in recent years. For example; The US made an agreement with 35 countries in Africa in terms of having a maximum of 800 soldiers in each country. The US will show its existence in the region with almost 25,000 soldiers in 35 countries and reaching an agreement with countries. In this context, I think, Turkey’s military base agreement with Qatar and resuming the discussions in the same direction, is a critic movement for balance in Gulf region, Turkey’s interests and common benefits of ally-fellow countries in the Gulf Region.

Prof. Jaap de Wilde from University of Groningen, Major General Sanad Ali al-Nuaimi from Qatar Armed Forces participated in the Istanbul Security Conference as key lecturers. Governor Mr. Aydın Nezih Doğan, Governor Assoc. Prof. Hasan Canpolat, OECD Turkey Representative Ambassador (R) Uluç Özülker, SSM Founder Consultant Mr. Vahit Erdem, Prof. Ersin Kalaycıoğlu from Sabancı University, Rector of Nişantaşı University Prof. Esra Hatipoğlu and Prof. Hasan Köni from Istanbul Kültür University were moderators of panels.  Around the main theme “Change in State Nature: Borders of Security” the Istanbul Security Conference organized panels that were held with the titles of: “Changing Security Concepts: Theoretical and Conceptual Debates”, “Human Security: Food, Environment, Health, Life”, “Border Security”, “Urban Security”, “Change in State Nature, Expectation Governance and Security”, “Private Security Companies”, “Regional Conflicts”, “Security Governance: Strategies and Players”, “New Security Technologies, Autonomous Weapons: Ethical and Juristic Approaches”, “Institutes and Institutional Approaches”, “Space/Aviation, Security and Defense: Defense Governance and Practices”, “Energy Security”, “Information Security Governance: Cyber Security”, “Hybrid Wars: Transformation of Armies”.

Security and Defense Reform 2023-2053 Turkey Vision and National Mega Defense Projects Workshops

“Security and Defense Reform 2023-2053 Turkey Vision Workshops” was held on the frame of the case that Turkey’s security and defense field needs reforms and revision (especially with the emergence of some concrete problems experienced) within the new power objectives at the Istanbul Security Conference 2016. It was initially developed as “2023 Vision” and later revised as “2053 Vision” works by TASAM and the workshops were completed with the titles: “Security, Defense and Defense Industry 2023-2053 Vision”, “Political Communication and Public Diplomacy at Security and Defense (West-East Media and Public Opinion)”. Besides the workshops “National Mega Defense Projects” was also held.