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Report Highlights Turkey’s Importance In Countering Potential Risks To Europe’s Future


Strategic Thinking Needed on Turkey’s Relationship with Europe – from risk source to risk mitigator

Geneva, Switzerland, 13 November 2006 – The World Economic Forum today released its Europe@Risk report. Produced by the Forum’s Global Risk Network, the report highlights the fact that Turkey may help to counter some of the major global risks to Europe’s future prosperity and security.

According to the report, there are great strategic opportunities for European risk mitigation in a positive, long-term and inclusive relationship between Turkey and Europe, from assisting Europe in overcoming major geopolitical risks and raising Europe’s geopolitical profile, allowing Europe to enhance its energy security, to permitting Europe to overcome its demographic deficit and helping Europe address issues surrounding the integration of minorities. The report suggests a need to think beyond current problems in Europe’s relationship with Turkey and focus on a wider, long-term picture of mutual gains in coping with common risks.

“Turkey is perceived by many as a source of risk to Europe; it may be just the opposite, a potential source of major risk mitigation,” commented Thierry Malleret, Director and Head of Global Challenges Team. Charles Emmerson, Global Leadership Fellow of the Global Challenges Team, added: “Europe needs to look at Turkey in the context of the wider global risks facing it in the future. Turkey needs to make sure that it can present itself as a risk mitigator, rather than as a source of risk.” The report finds that overcoming perceptions – on both sides – may be a key part of this process. (Watch the full interview with Charles Emmerson)

Applying the Global Risk framework developed by the Global Risk Network of the World Economic Forum, the report provides an overview of risk perception issues in Europe and gives a Global Risk perspective on the relationship between Europe and Turkey. It suggests that Turkey can play a “high” mitigation role in at least four of the major global risks facing Europe over the next 10-20 years: oil supply shock/energy supply interruptions, international terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, as well as interstate and civil wars. In addition, Turkey can play a “medium” mitigation role in the risks to Europe from retrenchment from globalization, climate change and coming fiscal crises caused by demographic shifts. But the report goes on to say that none of this will be possible if the relationship between Europe and Turkey is allowed to slip.

A number of individual contributors writing in a personal function – Ahmet Evin, Sinan Ülgen, Yılmaz Argüden, Chrysostomos Sfatos, Charles Grant and Katinka Barysch – have written short articles for the report. The subjects range from the role of Turkey in mitigating Europe’s societal risks to the need for Europe to pursue a values-driven policy in order to overcome common risks. One contribution looks at what a break up between Europe and Turkey might look like, thereby helping to conceptualize the risk mitigation role which Turkey plays for Europe in the present. Another contribution shows how Greek attitudes towards Turkey as a risk have changed – with Turkish strength increasingly viewed as an asset and an opportunity.

The report is published ahead of the World Economic Forum in Turkey, Istanbul, which will take place from 23-24 November 2006. The meeting involves business and government at the highest level.

Note to Editors:

For more information or to download the report, go to

A print quality, high resolution photograph of the cover of the report and Charles Emmerson can be downloaded free of charge here:

Two workshops were held as part of the process feeding into the report – in Istanbul and Brussels – engaging the World Economic Forum’s member companies, academics, governmental figures and experts in the discussion. The notes to these workshops and more information on the Global Risk Network of the World Economic Forum can be found at

The programme of the World Economic Forum in Turkey may be downloaded here

The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

Incorporated as a foundation in 1971, and based in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Economic Forum is impartial and not-for-profit; it is tied to no political, partisan or national interests (


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