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Pathbreaking Insights


Watch Pathbreaking Insights, in which Simon Anholt states that a new agenda on multilateral collaboration and a new diplomacy for the modern age is needed in terms of Governmental Social Responsiblity. In addition, Talât S. Halman speaks about the predicament of Turkey's accession to the European Union.

Governmental Social Responsibility—a New Diplomacy for the Age of Shared Challenges

Simon Anholt; Policy Advisor, Author, Researcher

Countries, cities and regions care about their reputations more than ever: the nation “brand” is almost an obsession for many governments today. They know that a powerful and positive national image makes it relatively cheap and easy to attract tourists, investors, donors, students, major events, skilled workers and positive media coverage, and to export products, services, ideas and culture; they know that a weak or negative image usually means spending more to achieve less. But “brand” is a misleading term in this context, since place images are highly resilient to manipulation, and cannot be influenced by marketing communications. For a country to be admired it must be relevant; it must be seen to participate usefully, productively and imaginatively in the global conversations that matter to people everywhere. So, just as corporations have learned that customer loyalty comes from making good products and running a good company, so governments are learning that their contribution to shared challenges such as climate change, poverty, disease, war and terrorism is linked directly to the respect and attention afforded to their country by the media, other governments and international public opinion. This, in turn, is linked directly to their ability to engage productively and profitably in the globalized world. Doing well and doing good have become the same thing. And this gives us the cue for a new agenda on multilateral collaboration, and a new diplomacy for the modern age.


Turkey–EU: Europe untimely

Talât S. Halman; Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Letters, Bilkent University

Turkey is both European and Asian, eastern and western, Muslim and secular, loyal to its own traditions and receptive to progress, happy with its “Turkishness” and enamored of western ways and arts and of Western technology. The vast majority of the seventy three million population admires the West and aspires to join the European mainstream. This nation cherishes the hope that the European Union will admit it as a full-fledged member. Many think of it as salvation and instant prosperity. “East is East/West is best.” The admiration is such that there is a proverb: “If you are going to be hanged, be sure to get hanged with English rope.” Presumably Turkey would have been a full EU member by now—if its population happened to be ten million … or seventy million with oil resources and other sources of wealth with no unemployment … or if it happened to be poor but non-Muslim. Population, unemployment, and cultural differences especially Islam, together conspire against Turkey’s EU membership. Some of the members have similar problems—many had the same problems, even worse problems, a few decades ago. Turkey shall have to be patient until it achieves the “absolute perfection” of the members. Some Turkish cynics point out that many democracies were dictatorships not long ago. Many exemplary states of our day are former colonialists. Numerous EU members suppressed freedoms until only twenty years ago. A model democracy put an end to lynchings less than sixty years ago and dropped its segregationist laws and practices less than fifty years ago. The fortunes of nations ascend and descend. Let those nations that were and are faultless and flawless cast the first stone. The only virtue in our time is for nations to undertake the effort to improve themselves, their laws, their institutions, to make progress toward justice and peace, human rights and democracy. I hope the world will be mature enough to leave bitter memories to the past, and be courageous enough to take steps toward paradise on earth. Perhaps the only safe expectation is that Turkey is always likely to find a way out even if it is “way out!” It has always been a survival society. With or without the EU, it will endure and flourish.

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