IPI HomeEventsPanel DiscussionsThe Istanbul Process: A Way Towards Peace in the Heart of Asia

 

print print  |  share share back back

Panel Discussions - Friday, September 14, 2012

The Istanbul Process: A Way Towards Peace in the Heart of Asia

“Renowned 21st century poet Muhammad Iqbal of Lahore used the term ‘heart of Asia’ to denote the strategic location of Afghanistan at the center of the Asian continent. This term has been the inspiration behind the Istanbul Process,” said Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan, the Permanent Representative of Turkey to the United Nations.

“Afghanistan, with its natural resources and human potential, is indeed a country of the future, and regional dimensions have a significant role to play in this promising future that awaits Afghanistan.”

Ambassador Apakan spoke at an IPI event on September 14, 2012 entitled “The Istanbul Process on Regional Security and Cooperation for a Secure and Stable Afghanistan.” He was joined by Ambassador Zahir Tanin, the Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations, and Dr. Keith Stanski, the Senior Program Officer of the Afghanistan Regional Project at NYU’s Center on International Cooperation.  

The Istanbul Process was declared on November 2, 2011 and was agreed to by 13 Asian countries. “Regional cooperation, as envisaged by the Istanbul Process, aims to collectively enhance political dialogue among all ‘heart of Asia’ countries in a result-oriented and practical framework,” said Ambassador Apakan.

Ambassador Tanin added, “Through time and experience, we all came to realize an obvious reality: that challenges of terrorism, extremism, and narcotics threaten the safety and well-being of all our peoples, and that increase in trade and transit and investment in human and natural resources will help to improve the lives of all our citizens and help to guarantee a more prosperous life and future for generations to come.”

“In the 1990s, the attitude of the macro-region toward Afghanistan was how to save themselves from the flames of the Afghan war. In 2000s, this attitude changed to how to work in Afghanistan together for stability and peace.”

Ambassador Tanin and Ambassador Apakan spoke about the historical relationship between Turkey and Afghanistan, a relationship that both permanent representatives referred to as brotherly. “Afghanistan and Turkey have been allies since 1920–a year after Afghanistan’s independence–while Turkey was reestablishing after the fall of its empire. Turkey played a vital role nonetheless in building the Afghan state,” said Ambassador Tanin. “The first Afghan girls who pursued education abroad went to Turkey.”

On the term “Heart of Asia,” Ambassador Tanin said that the term was not only a poetic fact, but a geographical fact, one that revolved around geopolitical and economical interests.

Dr. Stanski explained that the Istanbul Process was developing at a volatile time in Afghanistan–during the nation’s security transition–and that the process needed regional support. “The success of the Istanbul Process I think will be measured by its ability to broaden and really involve larger sectors,” he said. “The vision is not to supercede existing structures, but rather create bridges across them.”

Ambassador Tanin said, “We underscore the need for international support of our efforts on the way forward. We stand ready to work with all our friends and partners in the region and beyond for stability and prosperity.”

“We started with a conference. Now, we are in the middle of a process, and that’s a big achievement.”

The event was moderated by Ambassador Maureen Quinn, IPI Senior Adviser.


Watch event:

The Global Observatory

Firing Blanks: The Growing Irrelevance of the UN Small Arms Process
UN momentum toward stopping illicit arms trade seems to have slowed, but national gun control laws hint at the possibility of a successful bottom-up approach.

Key Global Events to Watch in August
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.

2014 Top 10 Issues to Watch in Peace & Security: The Global Arena
A list of ten key issues to watch that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2014, compiled by IPI's Francesco Mancini.

The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.

Recent Events

August 25, 2014
High-Level Forum Examines Lessons of 1814 and 1914 for Today
2014 marks the centenary of the outbreak of World War One and the bicentenary of the opening of the Congress of Vienna–two dates that profoundly shaped the course of history.

August 22, 2014
Real World Lessons Inform 2014 IPI Course in Negotiation, Conflict Resolution
The 2014 Advanced Course in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, held June 22-25, led an array of international diplomats through three days of in-depth lectures, negotiation and public speaking exercises.

July 17, 2014
EU and UN Seek Ways to Improve Cooperation in Peacekeeping
The European Union is among the strongest supporters of UN peacekeeping missions around the globe, but the growing challenges faced by UN-led operations have raised the need for better EU-UN cooperation, both on the ground and at the planning level.

View More