I have to start today with a thank you note for it is unfortunately not possible to answer the innumerable messages of greetings and wishes about my new task. The honor I have to perform this task for my country has increased with these meaningful supports coming from various sections of our society and economy. I sincerely thank you for your trust and hope.
Note: Hatice Karahan was recently appointed as the senior advisor to President Erdoğan.
To get to the main point, the G20 Summit in Hamburg, where I have joined as part of this relevant task, has been playing a leading role in the international agenda of the week. When we came here on Thursday evening, the bustle in the city was great. The number of viewers who filmed the passing cortege with their phones along the streets covered with abundant green was not small. The security measures are knee-high as you can imagine. Indeed, while I was writing this article, Hamburg, which hosts the G20, is experiencing quite an unusual activity by contrast with its calm nature. On the other hand, the city, crowded with the delegations of the participating countries, is shaken with protests and violent demonstrations. The vehicles set on fire in the streets and the echoing siren sounds, frankly, do not offer very nice scenes of a G20 in the heart of Europe.
While the outside façade of the G20 is witnessing such tension, there is stress inside as well. I will soon touch on this issue that I would like to underline, but first of all it would be good to note the items of the Hamburg agenda. In this context, the agenda of the leaders who started the summit with a theme called "Fight Against Terrorism" continues with a workshop on "Global Growth and Trade.” The following sessions flow as follows:
* Sustainable Development, Climate and Energy
* Partnership with Africa, Migration and Health
* Digitalization, Women's Empowerment and Employment
If we are to focus on global growth, which has been one of the main objectives of G20 since the beginning, it is known that the G20 is still far away from its 2014 target of 2 percent additional growth which is aimed to be achieved by 2018. In this context, the "trade" issue, which is also on the agenda of the relevant session, is now even more ominous, as you can imagine. Because the global trade, where we have been seeking good old days for a while, is recovering to an extent in 2017, but it cannot overcome its unease due to the hardening tendency toward the risk of protectionism.
In this context, it is also impossible to talk about a complete facility in the relevant negotiations. At this point, you know, the U.S.’s objections and questioning attitude are the main snafu of the environment. Yes, no one criticizes the emphasis on fair trade, but it has to go on the framework of a common benefit without transforming into individuality. So, while it is important to maintain an approach to protect free-trade, we will see how much it will be emphasized in the declaration.
On the other hand, while Turkey has a firm position in favor of free trade in Hamburg as well, we also underline the harmonization with the World Trade Organization system in multilateral agreements. We also continue to emphasize the "inclusiveness" objective we set during our G20 presidency in the context of economic growth.
However, I can say that another cracking topic of Hamburg negotiations is energy and climate. Because we are witnessing that this issue, which goes hand in hand with economic dynamics, is also being held in awe at the helm of the U.S. With the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the Treaty of Paris, not all G20 countries are compatible with the G20 about relevant energy policies now. Aside from the U.S.’s divergence in trade and energy/climate, there are various discussions among the parties in different areas including the migration issue.
We will see the conclusions in the declaration here, but the main issue is that these cracks should not kill the G20 spirit. In fact, if the G20, which once embarked on strengthening global governance by cooperation and, frankly, achieving a common salvation, fails to achieve its own inclusiveness and common justice, it has the risk of going in another direction different from its reason for being. In short, the G20 period under Germany’s presidency is witnessing a critical stage in Hamburg.