Sylvia Tiryaki on Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review
SylviaTiryaki told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review in an interview in January,2009 on Bridging the gap betweenacademia, media & power.
Bridging the gap between academia, media & power
There is a relationship between the decision-making process, academia, civil society and the media, says Sylvia Tiryaki, but the question is about how this chain can be more functional. The GPOT Center has been established to deal with this question, she says.
As a new think tank in Turkey, The Global Political Trend Center, or GPOT, aims to bridge the gap between decision makers and academia, according to its deputy director, Dr. Sylvia Tiryaki.
"Due to lack of time, policymakers sometimes follow international politics in view of micro-trends," Tiryaki told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review in an interview last week. "Moreover, the decision-making process is so battered by regional and bilateral problems, such a micro-outlook generally results in the loss of global tendencies from sight."
There is a relationship between the decision-making process, academia, civil society and the media, she added, but the question is about how this chain can be more functional.
The GPOT Center has been formed to answer this crucial question. The center, established as a research unit under the auspices of Istanbul Kültür University last year, seeks to produce innovative and distinctive policy recommendations by analyzing contemporary trends in regional and global politics. Another objective is to provide a platform to examine the reflections of certain global formations in international politics.
The recent shift in Turkish foreign policy, as exemplified during Israel’s assault on Gaza, is also on GPOT’s agenda. While the center studies Turkey’s position and its role within current global trends, it also tries to conclude how Turkey should respond to those trends in a rational way.
The GPOT has been involved in several projects, including the Forum for the Future, projects that monitor recent developments on the Cyprus issue, the discussion of Turkish-Armenian relations, second-track diplomacy between Israel and Syria and Turkish-Arab dialogue.
"We have two ongoing projects on Turkish-Armenian ties," Tiryaki said. "First, we focus on the bias in the media, prejudices and misunderstandings in both countries. We are trying to find out the media’s negative or positive impacts on uneasy bilateral relations. On Armenian claims of genocide, we also initiated a workshop with leading lawmakers on the legal limits of such claims."
While Turkey’s near abroad has been gripped by bloodshed, the GPOT Center has worked together with academics, researchers and experts from the Middle East, analyzing not just Turkey’s relations with the Arab world but also the internal contradictions of the region. For its part, the center seeks to hold annual meetings under the name "Turkish-Arab Forum," in cooperation with the Ibn-Khaldun Center for Development Studies in Cairo, Egypt and the Center for Arab Unity Studies and Arab Democracy Foundation in Beirut, Lebanon.
’Misperceptions on both sides’
"As a Western-oriented country, Turkey attracts attention from Arab nations. But there are misperceptions on both sides," Tiryaki said.
"With the support of our partner organizations in the Middle East, we try to discover where misunderstandings still prevail. We also have a political project called ’Democratization of Middle East,’ prepared by researchers in the region." Despite a temporary slowdown in Turkey’s journey into the European Union, the GPOT Center strives to win over the Europeans "who are very curious about Turkey’s political strategy."
"Foreigners want to know what is causing the recent shift in Turkish foreign policy, which is now more proactive and has an mediating role," she said. The GPOT Center is also preparing to publish four books dealing with Cyprus and the history of Turkish-Israeli relations. It has already published briefs on Gaza and northern Iraq.