NATO Parliamentarians Gather in Antalya to Consider Security and Diplomatic Challenges in the Greater Middle East

Antalya, 11 April 2019 - The broader Middle East is facing a moment of great turmoil and transformation.  Hundreds of thousands of young people demanding political change have recently taken to the streets throughout Algeria. Libya is teetering on the edge of civil war, the Sahel is beset by political violence which climate change has only exacerbated, and political tensions and security problems in the Levant remain unresolved.  NATO itself as well as NATO member countries see capacity building and engagement as key tools in helping nations in the region address the security, economic, and political challenges they are facing. Even so, there are differences among Allies over questions such as the nuclear deal with Iran and the nature of certain parties engaged in the conflict in Syria. 


These are among the themes that will be taken up at a joint Rose-Roth – Mediterranean and Middle East Special Group (GSM) parliamentary seminar to be held in Antalya, Turkey, from 12-14 April 2019. Over 120 parliamentarians from NATO member and partner countries are slated to participate in the seminar that will be opened by Mustafa Şentop, President of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey; Mevlut Cavusoglu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey; NATO Parliamentary Assembly President Madeleine Moon; Osman Askin Bak, head of the Turkish delegation to the NATO PA , and Philippe Folliot, Chairman of the GSM.


A number of senior officials and experts will address the seminar. Among these, Major General Dany Fortin, Commander of the NATO Mission in Iraq (NMI), will discuss the Alliance’s Train and Advise programme in Iraq.  Emile Hokayem, a Senior Fellow for Middle East Security at The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), will examine Regional politics and competition in the Gulf. Lanxin Xiang, the Director of the Centre of One Belt and One Road Studies at the China National Institute for SCO International Exchange and Judicial Cooperation, will talk about China’s Geopolitical Aspirations, Energy Requirements and Middle East Strategy. Robert Watkins, the Assistant Director and Head of the Middle East and North Africa Divisions at the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), will speak about The Challenges of Political and Institutional Reform in the MENA Region. Tarek Megerisi, a Policy Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Affairs, and Leonardo A. Villalon, the Dean of the International Center and Professor of Political Science and African Studies, University of Florida, will speak on Security challenges in Libya and the Sahel. 


In addition, participants will consider the first draft of a report on the situation in Syria by the Turkish MP Ahmet Berat Çonkar, Rapporteur of the GSM.


Since they were initiated in 1990, Rose-Roth seminars have helped engage national legislators from partner parliaments in Assembly activities. This has helped parliamentarians from NATO and partner countries to identify challenges, find new ways to deepen collaboration, and act to construct and reinforce a collective sense of purpose. The Antalya seminar will be the 99th Rose-Roth seminar. The 100th seminar will be held later this month in Brussels. 


GSM seminars have a similar outreach function and are the primary vehicle for engaging national legislators from Africa, the Middle East and the Gulf in Assembly activities. The GSM was founded in 1996.