Arab – Turkish Dialogue Forum, held between 21-22 November 2009, in
The Forum aimed to bring prominent opinion leaders, diplomats, journalists, academicians across the Arab countries and
The Forum identified six pillars for sustainable relations between the relevant parties:
Ø Strategic perspectives for Arab-Turkish relations;
Ø Political cooperation and coordination in regional and international spheres;
Ø Future horizons of Arab – Turkish economic relations;
Ø The question of identity;
Ø Religious trends; and
Ø Military and political authority.
For each identified pillar, the participants have examined the status quo and looked at the potential areas of cooperation in the upcoming period. The participants also identified the core problems in the relations so as to discuss the alternative reform paths and possible suggestions for the future. In this way, it was possible to share best practices and success stories from different countries.
During the sessions, the theme of the “regional ownership” role of
The role of civil society on the bilateral relations was another important parameter that was mentioned. The cooperation between Arab and Turkish universities was suggested as an innovative way of furthering relations.
Another common denominator between the participants was the necessity to ensure the spill-over effect of such Forums on neighbouring areas, such as economic forums (with the participation of business circles), and cultural initiatives (already deepened via the Turkish series widely followed by Arab people). The strategic cooperation was an important point of reference during the sessions. For instance, the newly-formed High Level Strategic Cooperation Councils between Turkey-Syria and
Research studies on identity as well as on collective memory, screening of history books to remove mutual prejudices, and learning of each other’s languages were other suggestions brought up during the brain-storming sessions. It would also be of utmost necessity to establish links between the State and the civil society for ensuring the sustainability of such cooperation.