On the 15th of November, the annual G20 summit began in earnest. After a brief attempted photo-bomb by a trio of cats, the yearly meeting of leaders was soon under way. Presidents and prime ministers once again rubbed shoulders with their non-democratic counterparts. However, this would be where the similarities ended. As the representatives of twenty of the world’s most important economies descended on Antalya, Turkey, the tone of this year’s summit was certain to be distinct. The placement of the G20 summit in Turkey was central to this.
The chairing of the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey was important for many reasons. The G20 was established as a response to the power of the emerging economies. Together, the G20 represents a whopping 85% of global GDP, and the many emerging nations are the heavy-hitters in this meeting of markets. Turkey is a firm member of the important economies of the 21st century. Antalya itself is a key tourist destination, a strong corner of the country’s extensive tourism industry which constitutes over a tenth to its GDP. Tourism is far from the only string in Turkey’s bow however. A growing financial climate has seen Istanbul tackle to take its position as the world’s next leading financial centre. However, it is not purely for economic reasons why the location of the G20 summit in Turkey was significant.
[via Daily Sabah]
After a week which has seen terrorist violence rock the globe from Beirut to Paris, Turkey’s position on the front-line of the war against ISIS is relevant as ever. Forced to confront both ISIS terrorism and Kurdish terror in the form of the PKK, Turkey’s fight against terrorist violence is increasingly complex. Having recently secured a majority, after a less than successful election earlier this year, Turkey’s President Erdogan is in a unique position. A newly empowered AKP government can convincingly command the resources to defeat terrorism in all of its guises. Leaders present at the G20, worried for the safety of their nations, may look to Erdogan and Turkey for answers.
The spectre of terrorism cast an indefinite shadow over the proceedings, and become its main focus. India’s prime minister Modi urged nations to create and adopt a comprehensive and all-reaching ‘convention on terrorism‘. Among the nations that were present, many are alleged to allow terror to flourish. Saudi Arabia’s roles in Yemen and Syria, India’s Hindutva violence, all may be under scrutiny. President Obama urged Putin, who has committed Russia to air strikes in Syria, to prioritise ISIS, and to stop striking simply Assad’s legitimate opposition groups. Turkey itself has been charged with presenting an imperfect response to terrorism.
Turkey may not be the beacon of answers other nations may hope. Turkey’s own battle with terrorism has been fraught with difficulty, and oft criticised. It has been claimed that President Erdogan’s political measures, touted as a solution to terrorism, tar even legitimate, peaceful groups with the same brush. Degradation of civil liberties, already an issue in Turkey, may become increasingly likely. Following a reinvigorated AKP government, Erdogan’s administration may increasingly take on an authoritarian flavour. However, this is not a challenge limited to Turkey. The debate about civil liberties in the implementation of anti-terror laws is one which is continually being raised. From Brazil to Egypt, and beyond. In the face of mounting and real dangers to human life around the world, Turkey may be the crucible. Truly, the eyes of the world were on Turkey. And as the leaders of more than twenty nations, all touched by terror in one way and another, met in Antalya, the world’s hopes may well lay with them.