5th Istanbul Security Conference Held - “New World Architecture of Economy and Security”

Organized by the Turkish-Asian Center for Strategic Studies (TASAM) National Defense and Security Institute (MSGE) regularly every year since 2014, the 5th Istanbul Security Conference (IGK) with the main theme of “New World Architecture of Economy and Security” was held on November 7-8, 2019 at CVK Park Bosphorus Hotel, Istanbul. Various topics were discussed relating to the age of Micro Nationalism and the mounting Global Security challenges both old and new that are facing the world today.

Tarih: Issue 96 - December 2019

Along with the Istanbul Security Conference 2019, other forums were held as co-events, such as the 3rd Turkey - Gulf Defense and Security Forum with the main theme of “Gulf Architecture of Power and Economic Security” in cooperation with the Qatar Strategic Studies Center (QSCC), the 2nd Turkey - Africa Defense Security and Space Forum with the main theme of “African Architecture of Security and Turkey”, and the 1st Space Ecosystem and Security Workshop with the theme of “New Economy and Security Architecture of Space.” 

The opening speech of the two-day event was given by Süleyman ŞENSOY, Chairman of TASAM, with the theme “New Conventional, New Economy and Security.”  The event hosted many military officials, senior bureaucrats and academicians specializing in their fields. Sub-themes were discussed in various panels, such as the “Ecosystem and Law of the New Power and Property, International Law Security, New UN and Security Architecture, Economic Security Governance, Global Governance of Military and Economic Competition, Transformation of Security Organizations.”

Süleyman ŞENSOY, Chairman of TASAM gave the opening speech of the 5th Istanbul Security Conference with the theme of examining and understanding the economy and security architecture of the new era in the 'Multipolar World Order' which has not yet been understood and implemented in all its aspects.   He pointed out that the first of the issues they faced while trying to understand the ecosystem vision was the new geopolitical model and the impact it has on competition. ŞENSOY: “The area up to Canada, including North Africa, appears to have become the new geopolitical center, but it is too early to make a final judgment. Within this new geopolitical area, there is fierce competition between the new and old powers, and there is also significant sharing competition in the regions outside this geopolitical area. Therefore, we need to challenge our brains to discover and anticipate the instabilities or possible instabilities in the regions outside the Geopolitical Center and contribute to an international regulation.”

ŞENSOY reminded the audience that there has been a global resources crisis (Global Financial Crisis) since 2008 all over the world, especially starting from the Western world, as a result of pushing out the resources that could be produced in loan-debt relation.  ŞENSOY also said that a land and sea rivalry has started with the domination of China, that the conventional balance has changed especially with the Declaration of Arms announced by Russia in March of last year (the introduction of 6 new asymmetric weapon systems) and that the U.S. Naval Forces would become a target in all open seas if the newly developed Russian weapons have the alleged capabilities. ŞENSOY: “Therefore, it is obvious that this land-naval forces war and rivalry will shape the upcoming period. What the competition stands for from a national and global perspective is very important because it is not possible to implement a standard, uniform strategy for any country. There are significant differences even within security alliances, therefore each country needs to develop a competition perspective by properly analyzing its weaknesses and strengths. What I mean by competition is that destructive competition and the resource problem at this very point that the world has reached, I believe it is very difficult to eliminate. I think that competition in nature and the genetics of countries and people should be directed to different areas. One of the most important alternatives is space. Fierce competition has started, but it is now in a position to balance the competition in the world. Within this framework, each country has to define its own Strategic Inventory and take action accordingly. In other words, they need to redefine what they have in their strategic inventories; conventional power, soft power, hard power, smart power…”

Stating that he considers  that it is not necessary to seek enemies internally and externally  in today’s world, ŞENSOY underlined that if we are seeking enemies or friends, we have to look at our own institutional infrastructure, because the power of this institutional infrastructure is able to determine everything. Noting that the institutional infrastructure and the capacity to implement  regulation amendments rapidly are very crucial, ŞENSOY said, “Because of the swift pace of technology and rapidly changing virtual landscape, we are falling behind in ensuring the transformation of our institutional infrastructures in parallel with this rapid flow. This is the case even for the most developed countries.” Stating that land is precious in the era of Empires, now machines have become more valuable with the Industrial Revolution and that great Nation States have emerged, ŞENSOY added, “The Information Age we are in today is an international system that promotes micro-nationalism. Since there are no big crashes and splits today, this may sound like a distant possibility, but we may receive very critical data on this in the next 10 years. Therefore, this era, the 21st century, is the age of Micro Nationalism, and it does not consist of only ethnic origins. Even people united around crypto coins can be included in micro-nationalism. So, I would like to underline that any difference can be organized, any difference can be perceived as micro nationalism. Therefore, within a knowledge-based economic and security model, security areas, sectors and the Economy Center should be managed accordingly. This is also one of the important mental thresholds ahead of countries. To achieve this, there must be a correct correlation between political targets, economic policy and sectoral targets. Unfortunately, this is something that cannot be achieved easily, so it is a process that leads to millions of repetitions. In this sense, I would also like to say again that this is the key formula for success in this arena ...”

In order to be successful in the competition of the new era, ŞENSOY emphasized that the primary regulation should be established with critical thought and should be merit based and thus ensuring the emergence of the power of institutional infrastructure. He noted that at this point of impasse the world has reached in civilization, the international system established after the Second World War (the conditions at that time were very ideal compared to these days) should be reinterpreted on the basis of power and justice, and he said, “Otherwise it is not easy for anyone to talk about a manageable country profile in a manageable world.”

ŞENSOY: “I would like to repeat that the transformation of all economy-based industries is the most fundamental issue for safeguarding the security of the future. Nowadays the concept of power and ownership of power is changing in order to understand the international system that is constantly being shaped. In other words, everything that is conventional, large armies, large crowds, large civil servant sites, masses of experts, defense industry capacities or the institutions that support them and produce for them are changing rapidly. We are in a period when the conventional one changes rapidly. In this era where information, solely, is of value and even overrides currencies, I think that we should consider our understanding of the ‘new conventional’ to be in the same boat, because if we face the future by simply relying on the existing infrastructure, I'm afraid we will come face to face with really painful issues. Therefore, the concept of power and ownership of power needs to be reexamined both on the basis of individuals and families, societies and the states. We are entering a period in which the market value of our conventional savings and accumulations can rapidly melt. This could be real estate wealth or vehicles for individuals, and armies for states. Therefore, I think that we should focus on what the economic equivalent of the new conventional is and how it should be transformed. The global new economic model is a model that is principally based on information and economizes information. For example, there are several companies in the world, the values of which exceed US$ 1 trillion. These are all information technology companies, no mining companies, no oil companies have such market values, so there are some clues as to how the economy transforms. For example, a taxi application has a market value of US$ 92 billion, or a hotel reservation application has a market value of US$ 32 billion. But when we look at the holding companies that have tens of thousands of factories and employ tens of thousands of people, we see that their values are like US$ 5-6 billion dollars. Industry 4.0, Society 5.0 and artificial intelligence are now very popular concepts, but as the popularity increases, its content becomes hollow.  Artificial intelligence in particular is changing the center of security and the economy.

When we see that very outdated formulas are imposed especially upon developing countries, underdeveloped countries and least developed countries in terms of what and how the new economy and security ecosystem should be, we validate that this new economic security model has not been fully comprehended. Therefore, we need to come together and discuss how the new economic security model will be shaped all over the world. Hybrid power is one of the most discussed topics especially in military fields. Another issue is the risk of failure in success, for example the point where the European Union (EU) has come due to shortsightedness has resulted in the unsustainability of the standards that it raised to an extreme, and therefore it is necessary to adjust the extent of success. Being very successful may also bring a lot of mistakes, which is a very sophisticated issue, so I think that we need to work hard on the risk of failure in success while producing systems, establishing infrastructure, and setting targets. We said something about five years ago that reads, ‘what we are doing over the next decade will determine where we will be for the rest of the century’ and I think this is still valid. Very crucial changes are expected both within the current period and in the forthcoming years, especially the changes in technology and the developments that affect human lives validate some promising data but at the same time give some critical signals of chaos about the sustainability of international order. In this sense, there are serious instabilities in many countries around our own country. We wish friendly and allied Iraq soon to become stable. Again, many countries have similar potential. No one is exempt from this, neither Turkey nor the U.S. Therefore, how they are managed will be decisive for the future. We can say that countries manage to build a successful perspective for this century with a total institutional infrastructure transformation. Our aim here is to make an effort to provide clear information as a contribution to our national institutions in Turkey, friendly and allied countries and to the world...”

Speaking at the ISC 2019, Brigadier General Rashed Hamad Al-NAIMI, Commander of the Qatar Armed Forces Strategic Studies Center underlined that the Istanbul Security Conference (ISC) has become one of the most important security conferences specialized in defense affairs in the Middle East. Brig. Gen. Rashed Hamad Al-NAIMI delivered the following speech:

“This year’s edition of the Istanbul Security Conference and the Turkey-Gulf Defense and Security Forum comes under accelerated shifts in the balance of international and regional powers. The superpowers are grappling and competing to fill the strategic vacuum that has been created by the withdrawals of other superpowers from many regions throughout the world. International Order is coming under pressure from the rise of many powers, Superpowers and Regional Powers, in which we are witnessing a rearrangement in the structure of the global system with all its factors, institutional, legal, economic, military and others. Also, at the regional level, there is a constant movement and change in the map of alliances and new forms of security, since the Gulf Crisis in 2017 and the ongoing unjust siege imposed on the State of Qatar, many strategic, security and economic equations have changed. The coming period will change many related concepts and equations. Many new notions will be imposed, under the introduction of some of the projects under consideration, both regarding the protection of waterways in the Gulf and the Arabian Sea, or regarding the formation of a new regional security umbrella includes all countries from the both sides of the Arabian Gulf. The security situation in the Gulf remains uncertain, due to the persistence of some unresolved disputes, including the Gulf Crisis, the Yemen War, sanctions and escalation against Iran. Where will these conflicts lead us? Especially after we have seen their in-depth ramifications in some of the most stable Gulf countries.

The renewable Defense and Security challenges have introduced a 4th military operational domain, which is Space, in addition to the other main domains of Land, Sea, and Air. Unmanned Vehicles and the Cyber Warfare have introduced a very challenging and complicated domain to defend against, and the Turkey-Gulf Defense and Security Forum will discuss this newly introduced military domain. The Forum will also discuss the evolution of strategic military tactics and military doctrine due to the technological advancement and ramifications on the military. The continuous collaboration between Qatar Armed Forces Strategic Studies Center and TASAM is the extension of the strong and strategic partnership between the State of Qatar and the Republic of Turkey. The events proved that the two countries stand in the same trench in the face of challenges that threaten regional security and stability. Over time, the facts unfold, and events prove the solidity of this strategic alliance and the validity of its view in many regional crises.

The Qatari-Turkish relationship is a renewed historical relationship, based on brotherhood and solidarity, and a common progressive vision, we share ups and downs, good times and bad ones. We walk together in a common road that our present and future have become dependent on. The people of Qatar will never forget the Exceptional Turkish stand and support during the Gulf Crisis. The stability of Turkey, politically and economically, is pivotal to the whole region, and therefore, Qatar is firmly standing with the Republic of Turkey, politically and economically, during all the economically stress it is facing. This is the constant role of our Good Qatar Governance and Leadership.”

At the beginning of his address Rear Admiral Mirza Foad Amin BAIG, Representative of the Minister of Defense of Pakistan, stressed that he was fully in agreement with the noble concept of TASAM’s Chairman Süleyman ŞENSOY about the challenges of information age and added, “I think there are few less fortunate countries that still have to face the challenges of the industrial age, and information age.” 

Noting that since the existing World Order is transforming from bipolarity to multipolarity and micro nationalism, from World Trade to Trade Wars, and from traditional power struggles to more complex hybrid challenges, the state is not necessarily the main actor, Rear Admiral BAIG said, “With security and stability as the fundamentals to peace and development, today’s world is faced with mounting Global Security challenges both old and new.” Rear Admiral BAIG stressed that some lingering conventional issues like Kashmir Continues to challenge Global Security with nuclear confrontation and said, “Global security is encountering non-conventional challenges and widespread terrorism at the hands of non-state actors, cybercrime, and massive migration caused by economic disparity and civil wars.” 

Rear Admiral BAIG went on to speak of socio-cultural imbalances and economic rivalries in various parts of the world all of which threaten National Security, social stability and economic development around the world. Rear Admiral BAIG: “Within the globalized framework of the economically and politically integrated world, the dynamics of security have changed manifold. Cohesive efforts and enhanced cooperation between states from Regional and Global players as well addressing core issues of socio-economic discontent and stability are esssential. Pakistan highly appreciates the positive role being played by Turkey and other friendly countries to bring stability and order in a world, which is not yet based on the ideals of social justice. The question of diversity in an increasingly interconnected world has also been prominent. With a much faster transfer of populations than ever, spurred by economic interests as well as by instincts of conflicts imposed on these countries by external players and destruction on their part of the world. In this context, we need to realize the Dilemma of a huge segment of the Afghan population, our brotherly country living in refugee camps in Pakistan as well as Iran for the last four decades.  The continued security conundrum of Afghanistan hampers the efforts to create a requisite pool factor enabling the safe and honorable return of these refugees to their home. Similarly, the displacement of the Palestinian population from their home marks a point at the very concept of universal Human Rights, social justice and egalitarianism. Ironically while at the same time the Rohingya refugee crisis is what’s considered to be destabilizing for regional stability. India has blatantly deprived 1.9 million people of their citizenship rights, branding them illegal immigrants in India, their own country. In one way or another all such issues are as political as they are economic. The Refugees lost their economic roots in their own countries. The forced expulsion invariably adds to the complexity of a discrete resolution. Here I must mention Kashmir. India's revocation of article 370 and 35A of its Constitution has not only deprived the local population of their UN mandated political and economic rights but also put the security and stability of the nuclear neighborhood at risk. As the economic architecture within the global governance system has not kept up with the scale and complexity of the hybrid Information Age, the challenges have now come under stress due to the rapid Technological Advancements and the changing geo-strategic environment around the globe. Consequently, we are witnessing new regional Security and economic forums. They all have a crucial role in security and economic cooperation and development at a regional and global level as well. Trends with new systems of cooperation both in security and economy are shaping up. Just as was said, our next 5 years perhaps will decide the fate of our next 90 years. In the wake of the transition from Unipolar to Multipolar world, decent financial institutions and economic organizations are required. We believe that free trade agreements, information-sharing and through consulting and financing we can empower smaller economies to contribute their fair share to the world economy. This will offset the economy control of few over many…”

Ayşegül BAYBARS, Minister of the Interior of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, was one of the keynote speakers of ISC 2019 and touched upon the latest status in the Eastern Mediterranean and said that they are working to realize the policies toward the development of cooperation as the Turkish Cypriot side for regional and global peace in the context of security architecture. BAYBARS: “As you all know, Cyprus is a small island in terms of its geographical location, but it is extremely strategic and important. Considering the theme of the conference this year, I would like to express, as the Minister of Interior of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), that the recent developments and changing balance in the Eastern Mediterranean have made Cyprus even more effective and visible within the strategic equation. Stating that the hydro-carbon resources discovered in the Eastern Mediterranean have added a new parameter to the region in terms of defense, security and economic balances and led to the re-dealing of cards in the region.  The bipolar world after the cold world was replaced by cyclical relations and alliances, Minister BAYBARS said, “In this new parameter, as Northern Cyprus and Turkey, we persistently have defended and continue to defend that these resources belong to two nations living on the island, namely the Turkish Cypriot people and the Greek Cypriot people. This position we have adopted is not only discursive but also operational, it is an extremely important position”