10 December 2011VIENNA (A.A) - Turkey's president said on Friday that there were dramatic signs of complacency, especially when the European collective conscious failed to accept the terror coming from its core.
President Abdullah Gul delivered a speech at the Fourth Edition of the World Policy Conference in Vienna, Austria, and said they had gathered to mainly discuss the new challenges and opportunities ahead.
"We may still not agree on what to call the last 20 years, but, I believe that we are witnessing the early days of a new world order," Gul said.
Gul said almost two hundred years ago, in 1815 at the end of the Napoleonic wars, leading powers gathered in Vienna to discuss how to establish a new European order, and the balance of international system was being discussed primarily on the basis of territory in those days.
"Today, the sweeping impact of globalization is causing a paradigmatic shift in our understanding of the world at large. Unquestionably, globalization is much more than a mere economic state of affairs," he said.
Gul said, "in the political sense too, territories are no longer a sacred shield of national sovereignty. Even, the most consolidated democracies are not immune to the process of global exposure and accountability."
Furthermore, the tectonic shifts in the global political and economic system rendered global governance structures anachronistic, he said.
Gul said, "with new players, rising powers and shifting balances, old rules are breaking down, or becoming irrelevant. This is why there is pressing need to re-evaluate the functioning of the global system. At a Chatham House conference last year, I argued that the current international system was at the state of a three dimensional 'imperfect equilibrium' in the political, economic and socio-democratic domains. Since then, along with the ecological deficit, all the said discrepancies have drastically hit the international system."
"To give a couple of examples; we had the Arab Spring; sovereign debt crisis in Europe; alarming tension between Iran and some other countries; renewed terrorist attacks in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan; a tragic famine in Somalia; and finally, the nuclear contamination in Japan. All these factors have the potential to push the international system from a state of 'imperfect equilibrium' into a 'perfect imbalance'. Therefore, we have to be extremely vigilant on the global governance of these issues," he said.
Gul expressed his views on deficits in the international political order, and said most of current international political-security structures were shaped in the time of Cold War.
These structures were under increased pressure to transform themselves in accordance with the changing global dynamics, he said.
Gul said, "it is also an agreed fact that no single power can cope with these challenges alone. There is a need for truly effective multilateralism with the participation of the emerging powers. In this respect, the United Nations, as the flagship of the international system and global governance certainly needs a comprehensive reform. In this regard, the reform of the UN Security Council is imperative. Unfortunately, the United Nations has so far failed to adapt itself to the changing realities of our time. I have to say that the most common perception of the UN today, is that of an international structure which serves the interests of the leading powers."
Touching on global economic sphere, Gul said four years after the outbreak of the global financial crisis, the world economy had entered into a dangerous phase once again.
Gul said factors such as the sovereign debt crisis in Europe and weak economic data of the US had caused concerns over another global recession.
"It is becoming clearer that the impact of the current crisis would remain longer than previously thought. Many European countries are struggling with enormous debt levels and budget deficits above the Maastricht Criteria. I believe that the European Union's negligence to the implementation of its own economic criteria paved the way to the current difficult situation. Moreover, the lack of political will and ineptness to take courageous actions in dealing with these problems further aggravated the situation in the euro zone countries. Those failed economies may bring down the whole EU with them. In fact, the very unity of the Union is at stake because of the split between the euro zone members and the other EU members," Gul said.
Gul said, "ongoing economic problems in Europe threaten the global economy as a whole, since the level of economic interdependence among the continents is very high, in terms of foreign trade, international finance and investments."
Moreover, Gul drew attention to the historic transition in the world, and said the way statesmen were going to deal with the unfolding events of today, would make a vital impact on the lives of many generations to come.
"From Africa to Asia, Europe to Middle East, the order of the past is changing. Of course, the most important change of the new strategic climate is the Arab awakening. For me, the Arab awakening was a process long overdue, and is irreversible now. It is simply normalization of history in this part of the world. After all, the Southern Mediterranean is a region that has been the cradle of many civilizations," he said.
Gul said, "in that sense, who can deny the importance of the Great Library of Alexandria, which was the single greatest archive of knowledge of the ancient world- It should also be noted that the region was home to many great philosophers like Farabi and Ibn Khaldun. Their influence in sociology, political science, and education has been felt over generations. Therefore, one can argue that there has always been the necessary historical and intellectual accumulation in the region for the ideal of a pluralistic democracy. What is happening now, on the basis of genuine homegrown dynamics, represents a correction of history and the course of human civilization."
Turkish experience proved that traditional and spiritual values could be in perfect harmony with the contemporary standards of life and modernity, he said.
Gul said it was no surprise that the emerging democracies in the MENA region were examining Turkish democratic experience and the institutional set-up, and Turkey was a source of inspiration for them.
"Particularly our approach to religious freedom and secularism, and the way we have turned those notions into an ultimate assurance of democratic pluralism and harmony between the state and the society is highly relevant," he said.
President Gul said the growing pessimism due to economic crisis in today's Europe was reshaping its political life.
"There are growing manifestations of intolerance and discrimination in most European countries. There is a rise in electoral support for political parties which portray immigration as the main cause of insecurity, unemployment, crime, poverty and social problems. As a result, we are extremely concerned about the rise of xenophobic and Islamophobic tendencies. The horrific terror act committed in Norway last July, was a chilling reminder that the threat of far right extremism should not be underestimated," he said.
Gul said, "unfortunately, there are dramatic signs of complacency, especially when the European collective conscious fails to accept the terror coming from its core. We all know that terror in itself is an insane act.Nevertheless, if we do not punish the perpetrators on the grounds of their so-called insanity, fighting terrorism will become an impossible job."
"Most recently we were shocked once again, this time by the news of the cruel murders committed by the neo-Nazis in Germany, between 2000 and 2006. We were particularly saddened by the fact that 8 out of the 10 victims were of Turkish origin. There is a real sense of concern among the immigrant communities not only in Germany but across the entire Europe. In this regard, I commend President Wulff for his efforts to unearth the truth surrounding those attacks and to heal the wounds of the families of the victims. I hope President Wulff's political stand vis a vis the threats posed by the extreme right movements will set an example for all mainstream political figures and parties in Europe," Gul also said.
(Reporting by Ali Hakan Der/Ali H. Yurtsever)