Turkish Minister Calls for Ground Troops to Fight ISIS
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Turkish Minister Calls for Ground Troops to Fight ISIS
~ Says if Europe Were More Inclusive, ISIS Would be Less of Threat ~
BRUSSELS (March 21, 2015) – On the second day of the 10th Brussels Forum, Volkan Bozkir, Turkey’s minister of European affairs and chief negotiator, called for ground troops to combat the so-called Islamic State. “We can’t get rid of this by just bombing on some points. We need forces on the ground.”
Bozkir spoke at Brussels Forum, an annual conference on transatlantic relations organized by The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) and attended by heads of state, officials from the EU institutions and member states, U.S. officials, congressional representatives, parliamentarians, and academics.
But Bozkir said that a military response is not the long-term solution to the problem of extremism, given that the so-called Islamic State has 15,000-30,000 militants. “What are we going to do when we say we are going to eliminate them? Are we going to kill them all? Are we going to put them in prison?” he asked. “We have to go to the source which creates terrorism here and elsewhere in the world. I think the source is mostly Europe where there are so many people that feel that they are ‘the other.’ If Europe becomes more inclusive, we try to give the impression that these people have hope for the future.”
Derek Chollet, former U.S. assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs and current counselor and senior advisor for foreign and security policy at The German Marshall Fund of the United States, agreed with Bozkir. “We can’t just kill our way out of this problem,” he said. “The military component gets most of the attention and is absolutely critical, but this is going to have to be a bottom-up solution.”
“It’s a problem that governments are frankly not in a very good position to fix,” he continued. “It’s going to be something that is engaged with the private sector and the world of ideas in particular.”
European Council Counter-Terrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove said that Europe may have been partially responsible for the rise of the so-called Islamic State through inaction in response to the Arab uprisings in 2011 and 2012. “Probably we have not been up to the challenge of the Arab Spring,” he said. “We should have been doing much more and much more quickly.”
The same panel addressed the challenge of balancing surveillance with personal privacy. Susan Herman, president of American Civil Liberties Union, said that so far this balance hasn’t yet been successfully found. “We’ve now gotten into a situation where the people have gotten increasingly transparent to the government and the government has become increasingly opaque to the people,” she said.
Herman said that people are often concerned about the amount of data that companies collect on consumers, but that the data gathered by governments constitutes a greater threat to privacy. “Last time I looked, Amazon couldn’t arrest me if they didn’t like what I was doing, they can’t check my tax returns, they can’t put me on a no-fly list.”
At a session on energy security and climate change later in the morning, the Norwegian minister of foreign affairs, Borge Brende, said that events in Ukraine have changed energy conversations in Europe. “Putin has in this period made a cardinal mistake,” he said. “Everyone in Europe is now looking at not being in a situation in ten years where you have to rely so much on one distributer.”
Miguel Arias Canete, European commissioner for climate action and energy, agreed. “We will do all that is needed to make sure that energy is not used as a policy tool,” he said. “We will diversify routes, sources, suppliers, everything.”
Brussels Forum is an annual high-level meeting of the most influential U.S., European, and global political, corporate, and intellectual leaders to address pressing challenges currently facing both sides of the Atlantic. With over 50 countries represented and more than 400 attendees, the 10th annual Brussels Forum include heads of state, senior officials from the European Union institutions and the member states, U.S. government officials and Congressional representatives, parliamentarians, academics, and media. For the 10th annual Brussels Forum, GMF is honored to feature four co-chairs who provide support and intellectual leadership to the discussions: Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, counselor and trustee, Center for Strategic & International Studies; Frank Friedman, CEO, Deloitte LLP; Herman van Rompuy, former president of the European Council; and Dr. Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of management, Daimler AG. GMF is joined in this initiative by our founding partners Daimler and the Federal Authorities of Belgium. We are also pleased to welcome Deloitte as a strategic partner, and BP, Chevron, The OCP Policy Center, and UPS as forum partners. In addition, we would like to recognize the support of our associate partners: the Asan Institute, Bank of America, Brussels Capitol Region, the Latvian Ministry of Defence, NATO, and the Wilfried Martens Centre. Finally, we appreciate the backing of our dinner program partners, AT&T, IBM, and Solvay. We thank Lufthansa Airlines Group as the official airline partner for Brussels Forum and recognize SpotMe as the creator of the official Brussels Forum app, BFconnect.
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