A Portuguese ex-Minister of Europe and a Member of the European Parliament reportedly joined a panel discussion on Ukraine with a research director from a pro-Turkish think tank at a conference hosted by Turkish state media. The following is a summary of the Anadolu Agency report:
December 22, 2022: In a panel entitled “Russia-Ukraine War: Lessons Learned”, experts discussed the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine at the TRT World Forum in Istanbul. Thomas Greminger, the director of the Geneva Center for Security Policy, stated that both sides believe that the military momentum is still on their side, but attrition and exhaustion may lead to a ceasefire. Ryszard Czarnecki, a member of the European Parliament, predicted that a fundamental peace treaty between Ukraine and Russia is unlikely by the first anniversary of the war, and a ceasefire is the most probable scenario. Bruno Macaes, Portugal’s former minister of Europe, stated that the conflict would focus more on the economic, industrial, and political sides of the conflict, with Russia building its alliance with Iran and Ukraine guaranteeing American support. Kilic Bugra Kanat, the research director of the SETA Foundation, added that external factors would shape the trajectory of the war in 2023. The TRT World Forum 2022, which brings together academics, journalists, intellectuals, politicians, and members of civil society, is held in person this year after being held virtually for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) operates TRT World, a news channel founded in 2015 to deliver Turkey’s positions on world events and to rival channels like major news channels like CNN and BBC. TRT World’s chairman is a former classmate of Turkish President Erdoğan’s son, Bilal. After the 2016 Turkish coup, the Turkish government purged journalists from TRT, and TRT World employees have said they were pressured to take the government’s position on the coup, blaming Pennsylvania-based cleric Fethullah Gülen. TRT has offices in Eurasia, the Middle East, as well as in Germany, Belgium, the UK, and the US, where it has had to register itself as an agent of a foreign government formally.
The SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (Turkish: Siyaset, Ekonomi ve Toplum Araştırmaları Vakfı; SETA) is a Turkish think tank that was founded in 2005 by Ibrahim Kalin (who later became Turkish Presidential Spokesperson and Special Adviser to the President of Turkey). The German government has said that SETA is close to President Erdoğan’s AKP party and receives funding from the Albayrak family, which includes former Finance Minister and Erdoğan’s son-in-law Berat Albayrak. Several other prominent AKP politicians have had leading roles in SETA, including former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, and its current General Coordinator is a member of the Turkish Presidency Security and Foreign Policies Council. SETA has offices in Turkey, the US, Egypt, Germany, and Belgium.