THO Webinar: "A Changing World: What’s Next for the Middle East?"

A Changing World: What’s Next for the Middle East

23 Apr 20

On, Thursday April 23, 2020, the Turkish Heritage Organization hosted a webinar: A Changing World: What’s Next for the Middle East.

On, Thursday April 23, 2020, the Turkish Heritage Organization hosted a webinar: A Changing World: What’s Next for the Middle East featuring William Wechsler, Director of the Hariri Center and Middle East Programs of the Atlantic Council; Benjamin Friedman, Senior Fellow and Defense School, Defense Priorities; and Ambassador Selcuk Unal, the Director General for Syria of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The conversation was moderated by THO Nonresident Fellow, Kelsey Ritchie. 

The conversation began with Ambassador Unal and his discussions of the latest from the virtual Astana process that took place yesterday. Ambassador Unal mentions that “Minister Cavusoglu stressed the importance of solid concrete solutions and progress in this round to ensure the political process” in regard to the Syrian conflict that continues to develop. 

In continuing to discuss the Middle East and the American role in the region, Ben Friedman and William Wechsler both discuss these enduring interests and the role the oil plays in the region. Benjamin Friedman discussed that the while enduring interests in the Middle East from the U.S. remains with most likely a goal to avoid hegemonic power, there are instances where the US presence may exacerbate tensions- like in Iran. In contrast, William Wechsler mentioned that while there are instances that the U.S. policy has been inconsistent and missed the mark, nonetheless it is still critical to “work with our partners in the region with continued engagement, even in small numbers.” Both panelists agreed on the idea of utilizing allies in the region, but with different processes of how to go about that. 

Later in the conversation, the panelists discussed the latest impact of COVID-19 on Syrian refugees, and the Ambassador addressed a host of questions related to the Turkish response to Syria and the refugee crisis. The panelists also fielded questions from our virtual audience members. TO view this entire webinar recording please watch at the link below and ensure that you stay up to date with the latest in US-Turkey relations with the THO weekly newsletter and podcast!