DIPLOMACY IN THE DIGITAL AGE

27-29 March 2020

Neither geopolitics nor technological revolution will bring peace, stability and development to our world at this era of disruption. Yet, they are unambiguously facts of international life. Several conflicts, active or frozen, potential flashpoints, erosion of faith in existing international organizations and rules, rise of extremism and discrimination, wreak havoc, create humanitarian disasters including massive displacement of peoples, and disrupt the sustainable development of societies. All this at a time when humanity is facing a massive economic, social and potentially political transformation defined by digital technologies and the race to acquire them. Diplomacy has hardly been more relevant at a time when a new global system is being redefined. Because, the existing conflicts and challenges will not fade away on their own. A new state of affairs will not be codified by machines. Diplomacy will be key in both respects. Diplomacy must unmistakably adapt to the demands of digital transformation and be adept in using the new possibilities while confronting new perils. Nonetheless, diplomacy would still have to carry the same genes as hitherto and reflect the traits that are the product of centuries of human experience.

With the help of a hybrid format amalgamating political, intellectual, economic and social leaders, the inaugural Antalya Diplomacy Forum will focus on several hot topics for diplomacy in our age -with all its changes and continuities- and how to solve them.

WAR AND PEACE IN THE DIGITAL AGE

In this era of transformations, regional fragilities and conflicts as well as big power competitions mutually reinforce each other to aggravate challenges.

Most of today’s threats emanate from the grey zone between war and peace. Cyber-attacks along with hybrid warfare, disinformation and asymmetric threats further complicate the picture.

The multiplicity of threats is augmented by unpredictability and complexity.

These circumstances call for a robust diplomacy and coordinated action.

What are the contemporary challenges to global peace? What is the role of technology in the peace and security paradigm? How can diplomacy prevail in a digital era? This session will explore these and other questions related to different dimensions of war, conflict and peace.

REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS: THE NEED FOR INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

The speed of human mobility and the number of people on the move increase at an unprecedented level. While migration is as old as humanity, today there is a heated debate regarding the impacts of recent migratory flows throughout the globe. Refugees, other displaced persons and irregular migrants are integral part of this debate. While there are those who argue that migration bolster diversity, which in turn breeds harmony, productivity and contributes to the sustainable development processes; there are also those who treat migration as well as refugee movements as a challenge to host societies’ cultures and economies. The ones supporting the latter often dwell on the negative impacts of irregular migrants and refugees. Irregular migration and refugee movements are often seen as a major challenge for host countries. In this respect, there is a delicate balance between providing protection for those in need and managing migration in an effective manner. Therefore, migratory flows should be collectively addressed by the international community.

This session aims to look at migration and refugee issues from a comprehensive perspective to better understand what they imply for the receiving and sending countries and to look into ways and means to further enhance international cooperation with a view to finding coherent approaches.

NAVIGATING OUR DIGITAL FUTURE

(in cooperation with the Atlantic Council)

The Future of Governance, Resilience and Co-Existence: Will Technologies Pull Societies Together - Or Apart?

We are living through a period of dramatic technological and social changes around the world. These technologies have provided tremendous economic benefit and are the underpinning for both new forms of conflict and novel individual empowerment around the globe. As this conflict goes global, states must grapple with the impact of computing and connectivity technologies on the tools of statecraft especially diplomatic intercourse. How can a new generation of global leaders work to address the threats posed to the secure digital economy and interstate relations as we approach this digital crossroads?

This session hosted by the Atlantic Council in Turkey Program, GeoTech Center and Cyber Statecraft Initiative will explore the diplomatic implications of the ongoing digital transformation.

COPING WITH TERRORISM

Peace and stability are no longer bound only with the peaceful relations among states. Terrorism has emerged as a vital challenge in this regard. It knows no boundaries and cannot be attributed to one particular group, nation, religion or race. Given its constantly evolving nature, combatting terrorism requires international coordination, complementarity of efforts and an unwavering commitment at global scale. This session aims to explore possible avenues of cooperation within the global community.

RISE OF EXTREMISM AND DISCRIMINATORY MOVEMENTS

Populism and extremism are gaining traction and are no longer marginal trends. Their rhetoric jeopardizes the well-being of all segments of society. This is further exacerbated by rising xenophobia and animosity towards Muslims. Vigilance is needed at all levels. These phenomena and ways to address them need to be tackled through a wider lens. This session will ask and answer questions on the root causes and remedies.

REGIONAL CRISES/MIDDLE EAST

The Middle East remains marked by fragilities, embargoes, blockades, sanctions and artificial divisions rather than resilience, cooperation, connectivity and engagement. It is a region where power vacuums materialize, proxy wars proliferate, geopolitical equations and new demarcation lines reshape. This session aims to explore various options for reversing these trends and promoting peace, stability and welfare in the region. It will put diplomacy on a spotlight at a time when military approaches are gaining ground.

REGIONAL DYNAMICS/BALKANS

The Balkans is often regarded as the “Achilles’ heel” of Europe. This rather pessimistic outlook is being redefined. Regional ownership is the new mode. Leaders in the region are taking joint initiatives to address common challenges. New bonds and partnerships along with trade, transportation and energy corridors are being shaped with vast opportunities for enhancing stability and socio-economic development. This session aims to reconsider the region’s new dynamics and provide insight on additional avenues of cooperation.

EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN

The Eastern Mediterranean basin is diverse in terms of political systems, levels of development and cultural backgrounds. Located at strategic geopolitical crossroads, it is a bed of opportunities while also exposed to challenges. Under volatile circumstances, the region is in urgent need of enhanced dialogue. This session aims to make room for diplomacy conducive to cooperative solutions.

WHEN EUROPE WORKS WELL

Europe is facing serious challenges including extremist tendencies, ageing societies, economic slowdown and a changing geopolitical landscape, particularly in terms of the transatlantic relations. Whether the Brexit will have a pull or push effect within the EU is not yet known. The enlargement process is on hold. Deterioration of the public perception of the EU, destabilization in Southeastern Europe and weakening bonds between the Union and Turkey are potential consequences.

Some even argue that Europe is gradually drifting away from its core values of democracy and human rights.

This panel will solicit views of some key personalities that were at the helm during recent upbeat times and explore ideas to put things back in order.

REGIONAL DYNAMICS/AFRICA

The priorities of the African continent have changed over the past decades. The main focus has shifted to reaching Sustainable Development Goals including the eradication of poverty, promoting just, peaceful and inclusive societies, peaceful resolution of conflicts and more recently, the fight against terrorism. This session aims to stimulate discussion on how to move forward for a more stable and prosperous Africa and how the international stakeholders can play a more constructive role to that effect.

FROM MANY ASIAS TO ONE ASIA

No definition of the 21st century will be complete without a reference to the rise of Asia. This widely-accepted phenomenon embodies various opportunities of untapped potential as well as specific limitations and challenges. This session aims to explore the political, social, economic and technological prospects for Asian integration as well as Asia’s further cohesion with the rest of the world.