Turkey's global role applauded by young Atlanticits
Turkey's increasing international role was applauded by young professionals from over 40 countries who met on the sidelines of NATO's weekend Lisbon summit to boost transatlantic dialogue and discuss the alliance's core values. "Turkey could play a bigger role in terms of public affairs and establishing stronger links with the local population, which would eventually create a better image of NATO and the ISAF (International Security and Assistance Force) in Afghanistan," a Turkish participant of the Young Atlanticist Summit told reporters by email. Murat Onur, a graduate student in security policy studies at George Washington University, also said that Turkey's recent diplomatic activities have enhanced NATO's image. Steven Hill, a US attendee and visiting professor of law at the John Hopkins Nanjing Center in China, said Turkey's growing influence, particularly in the Balkans, is a source of strength for NATO in its mission to stabilize the region. "I just spent more than two years in Kosovo and I was surprised to see so many active and effective Turkish diplomats, businesses and other cultural exchanges," he said. "This was also the case elsewhere in the Balkans, such as in Macedonia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This influence is a source of strength for NATO in its mission to stabilize that region." The Young Atlanticist Summit was organized last week by the Washington-based Atlantic Council, which promotes US engagement in international affairs with the aim of energizing the transatlantic dialogue, in partnership with the Atlantic Treaty Association and Portuguese Atlantic Committee. The council, together with Istanbul's Sabanci University, is also seeking young professionals to participate in a Turkish-American leadership program next year.