Eurasian Economic Summits: Sixteen years of success
Marmara Group Foundation President Akkan Suver (L) welcomes Albanian President Bujar Nishani (C), Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga (2nd L) and Republic of Macedonia President Gjorge Ivanov (R) at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport.Presidents, speakers of Parliament, prime ministers, ministers, princes and princesses will come together at the 16th Eurasian Economic Summit in Istanbul between April 9 and 11. Dr. Akkan Suver has announced that the 16th Eurasian Economic Summit will consist of 10 parallel sessions under the title of “A Uni-Polar or Multi-Polar World?”
Dr. Suver recently discussed the Eurasian Economic Summit, which provides an opportunity for high-level representatives from 50 countries to engage with civil society identity. Dr. Suver commented on these officials’ acceptance of an invitation from, and their coming together with, civilian initiatives.
The following is an interview with Marmara Group Foundation President Dr. Akkan Suver.
What sort of contributions have the Eurasian Economic Summits made to Turkey’s economic, political and cultural position in the region?
The Eurasian Economic Summits are part of a civil society movement that has worked for the further advancement of Turkey’s pre-existing strength and esteem in the Balkans, Caucasus, Central Asia and the Middle East.
When we started out on this Eurasian journey, there were six countries alongside us. The trip that we began in the rooms of the Dedeman Hotel with six countries, reaching out to the Caucasus and Central Asia, is now 16 years old.
A civil society organization that has operated without interruption for 16 years and each year has increased its reach today also brings voices from Africa and Latin America. This is an important cooperation. nFrom the perspective of democracy and the future of mankind, the defining characteristic of the Eurasian Economic Summits, which we have developed through dialogue in the name of peace, is the high esteem for the civilian initiative of the government officials who accept these invitations.
Yes, the Marmara Group Foundation, with its civic identity, is well-accepted throughout the world as a symbol of international unity. If we are to evaluate our performance in Eurasia over the last 16 years with reference to this year’s participants, it can be said that our name is accepted not just as a symbol, but as a reality that stretches from China to Peru.
This has been a great success. And those who are signatories to this success are a mere handful of idealistic individuals. This handful of people has used their own resources too, almost taking the world on their shoulders, hosting more than 200 high-level dignitaries from more than 50 countries. As for my dear friends, who have believed in me and never left me alone on this road I have traveled in the name of peace, in the name of stability, and the sharing of wealth, I am grateful to them all.
What are the main themes that the 16th Eurasian Economic Summit will focus on?
We will discuss energy, healthcare and education, culture and ecological dialogue, modernization and women, information technologies, communication, and the defense industry and security in detail with six separate panels we are organizing. This is in addition to the main sessions with the participant countries’ officials. We will close the summit with the Session of Presidents.
Müjgan Suver will chair the Modernization and Women session. Müjgan Suver, who is known for her substantial efforts in the field of women’s human rights; the female president of Kosovo, Atifete Jahjaga; First Lady of Macedonia Maja Ivanova; First Lady of Albania Odeta Nishani; Speaker of the Parliament of Albania Jozefina Topalli; and many other well-known women will be present. In addition, female deputies from the AKP [Justice and Development Party], CHP [Republican People’s Party], MHP [Nationalist Movement Party] and BDP [Peace and Democracy Party] will also participate in the session. Princess Margarita of Romania and Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo Mimoza Kusari Lila are also among the speakers at this session.
The Energy Session will be chaired by Necdet Pamir. Azerbaijani Minister of Energy Natıq Aliyev and Bosnian Minister of Energy Erdah Trhulj are among the participants, which also include Valeh Aleskerov, Bülent Ali Rıza, Mehmet Öğütçü, Mihnea Constantinescu and other renowned experts. They will discuss energy matters.
Internationally regarded British Professor Salim al-Hassani will chair the Culture and Ecological Dialogue session. The Culture and Ecological Dialogue session, which will be moderated by Salim al-Hassani, one of the most influential figures of Islam in the context of science, will feature Patriarch Bartholomew, Speaker of the Ethiopian Parliament Abadula Gemeda, Minister of Public Administration of Kosovo Mahir Yağcılar, Apostolic Nuncio of Vatican Archbishop Antonio Lucibello and Nigerian Archbishop Matthew H. Kukah.
The Information and Communication Technologies and Defense Industry and Security session will be directed by [Turkish] Minister Binali Yıldırım, and with the guidance of Azerbaijan’s information and communication technologies minister, Professor Ali Abbasov, and Turksat. The ICT panels will take two days.
In the Security session, power parameters and issues of the defense industry will be discussed with the participation of the chief of the Slovenian Intelligence Agency, Damir Crenec, and South Sudan’s minister of national security, Denk Ajak.
In the session on the Economy, participants will demonstrate today’s opportunities and possibilities with reference to stability from the perspective of the Balkans, Central Asia and the European Union.
What are your expectations from the 16th Eurasian Economic Summit, in contrast to the 15th Eurasian Economic Summit?
At the 16th Eurasian Economic Summit, unlike the previous summit, there will be parallel sessions.
The philosophy we would like to put forth at the 16th Eurasian Economic Summit is utilizing our existing relations with countries like the United States and EU members as a foundation for our diplomacy that can be used in Central Asia, in order to further our global influence.
With global, continental and regional actors, and with our civil society identity, we will try to draw a road map that can understand, utilize, and direct regional dynamics.
Today, the transformation that Central Asia is experiencing is the most comprehensive transformation in its history. Handling this transformation and evolution with a rational and strategic planning is one of the main objectives of the Marmara Group Foundation.
Again, from the perspectives of the Caucasus and the Middle East, what is taking shape before us is a very delicate geopolitical field.
Could you please compare the cultural dialogue efforts of the Eurasian Economic Summits with the intercultural dialogue Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has directed as co-chair on the global stage?
Our prime minister has made an important step within the framework of the Alliance of Civilizations. He has put forth a political stance in favor of international peace and stability. Furthermore, it was necessary to project a value system and sensitivity in response to the development of Islamophobia in the West in the last 20 years. On this issue, with one act, our prime minister, initiated the idea of an alliance of civilizations as a peace-building project.
The Marmara Group Foundation, with its civil society identity, put forward the philosophy of dialogue in the name of peace 16 years ago. We first dealt with dialogue at the national level. Afterwards, we carried this to the international arena.
For us, dialogue is an essential concept of civil society.
Furthermore, civil initiative, the main resource of civil society, grows in proportion to dialogue. Our aim with dialogue is to make sure that our society consists of more stable, more peaceful and more tolerant practices.