International ties in a globalized world
Zhelyu ZhelevThis year’s summit of the Marmara Group Foundation is not just evidence that it has achieved its stable and sustainable position as one of the most influential forums, but also that it has already become a tradition.
We can define it as the greatest Eurasian Forum, not only because it gathers participants from all over the region, but also because among them we can also find politicians, scientists, diplomats and businessmen from other continents, in fact from all over the world. Further more, the reality of the great center shift towards the Eastern part of Asia and particularly towards countries such as China, India, Japan and Indonesia logically invokes the assumption that the interest in this region will grow.
I think it would be a mistake to limit or restrain the framework of each coming meeting to subjects concerning only Eurasia. In our globalized world, where we are mutually bound but locally different, this in fact means losing what is specific and particular in seeking the general. Known specificities are hidden in details. The most recent examples of this have been provided by the revolts and political struggles of the Arab peoples in North Africa and namely in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Morocco and Syria. Their problems today are quite similar to those experienced 22 years ago in the territory of the disintegrating Soviet Empire. It is no accident that the Arab politicians and revolutionaries at the forefront of the fight for democracy - or those of them who are keen to make a peaceful and bloodless transition from authoritarian dictatorship to parliamentary democracy - are open to learn the know-how accumulated in the course of our Velvet Revolutions. In this context, I think it would be wrong if the Marmara Group only focused its future attention predominantly or exclusively on energy and oil resources or their extraction, transport and utilization. If this happens, it will lose one of its brightest colors and ability to attract. Actually, looking at the program of the 15th Summit, I can flatly conclude that there is no such risk.
Zhelyu Zhelev is the former President of Bulgaria. Mr. Zhelev will speak at the President’s Session in İzmir at 2 pm tomorrow.