Dean's Blog

Turkish Ambassador at Living Room Dialogue

Turkish_AmbassadorH.E. Hatun Demirer, the Turkish Ambassador to Bahrain, was the speaker at our Living Room Dialogue on the Syria-Iraq Crisis from a Turkish perspective and a good audience came to listen to her. From the start she made it clear that she didn’t want it to be a speech and would welcome questions and discussion as she made her presentationlvd which made for a lively evening. She provided a number of helpful maps and diagrams, highlighting the challenge of securing 900 miles of border with Iraq and Syria. She also emphasized the hospitable stance towards refugees that Turkey had shown and the fact that UNHCR figures show that Turkey has the largest number of refugees from this conflict than any other country. One frightening diagram she had reproduced from the Washington Post highlighting the numbers and from where people had gone to fight in Syria: in their thousands from North Africa, Saudi Arabia and Jordan but also 488 from the UK, 412 from France and 130 from the US. Turkey is a major tourist destination too and, without the sharing of intelligence, it is very hard to identify those who are potential fighters.