On Thursday 17th March 2016, the International Strategic Research Organisation (USAK), in cooperation with the European Leadership Network (ELN), the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) and the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM) hosted a meeting of the Task Force on Cooperation in Greater Europe in Ankara, Turkey. The meeting brought together representatives from Turkey, the United Kingdom, Russia, Poland, Finland, and Ukraine and focused on determining a coordinated international response to the Syrian civil war and the corresponding refugee crisis.
Whilst participants acknowledged that the current state of international affairs makes the prospect of cooperation, particularly between Russia and Turkey at the present time, a difficult prospect, all agreed that certain issues must transcend current hostilities. These included coordinated humanitarian assistance to the displaced people of the Middle East and the need for serious discussion on efforts to combat Islamic State. Participants also discussed the options available for bringing the Syrian conflict to a close.
Attendees at the meeting provided comment to the Hurriyet Daily News, which can be accessed here.
The Task Force, a select group of senior statesmen and women drawn from the key states of greater Europe, brings forward proposals to allow all countries of the region to decisively break with the costly legacy of the Cold War and focus more effectively on meeting the emerging political, economic, and security challenges of the 21st century. It addresses the causes of current levels of mistrust between key countries and actors in the region, has trust-building as a central theme in its deliberations, and sets out a rationale and vision for a cooperative Greater Europe and a range of practical steps necessary to move the international relations of the continent in that direction.