Turkey's Role in Syria and the Region
Pelin Gundes-Bakir, Member of the Turkish Parliament
Transcript | Video | Photos

Washington, DC—On November 29, 2012, WFPG and the Assembly of Turkish American Associations hosted a luncheon event at the Capitol Hill Club with Turkish Parliamentarian Pelin Gundes-Bakir (AKP), who spoke on Turkey’s role in Syria and the surrounding region. Bakir discussed Syria’s attacks on Turkey, the resulting Turkish request for NATO patriot missiles, the state of the 120,000 Syrian refugees within Turkey’s borders, and the financial strain these refugee camps are placing on their economy. ATAA Board Member Gunay Evinch opened the program and WFPG President Patricia Ellis moderated the discussion.

Bakir began by condemning the extensive and systematic human rights violations committed by the Syrian regime. She emphasized that Turkey has sent a clear and firm message that the violence in Syria must end, a democratic transition must start, and Assad must go. She discussed several strategies for supporting the opposition, but cautioned that putting troops in Syria would not be an effective method, noting that invasions often have unpredictable outcomes as evidenced by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In her discussion of Turkey’s request to NATO for patriot missiles, Gundes-Bakir assured that the missiles would be used only for deterrence and defensive purposes. She stressed that Turkey’s lengthy border with Syria is a security concern and that the missiles are necessary as a warning to Assad.

Gundes-Bakir also discussed the financial burden of providing adequate resources for the thousands of refugees that have fled the brutality of Assad’s regime. She commented on the many services that Turkey has provided for the refugees, including food and shelter, education for the children, and security personnel. Bakir also suggested that there is a need for camps within Syria for the citizens that are displaced internally. She confirmed that Turkey’s borders would always remain open to refugees in the region.

alt alt alt
Pelin Gundes-Bakir with Patricia Ellis and Kimberly
Kahnhauser of WFPG, Gunay Evinch and Oya Bain of
ATAA, and former US Consul General
in Istanbul Sharon Wiener

  Dr. Pelin Gundes-Bakir, Member of the
Turkish Parliament, addressing WFPG and ATAA
members and guests

alt alt alt
Gunay Evinch opens the program

  Patricia Ellis presents Pelin Gundes-Bakir with a
certificate of recognition for her work promoting
women’s leadership

alt alt alt
Pelin Gundes-Bakir responds to Patricia Ellis’ questions

  Pelin Gundes-Bakir with Patricia Ellis and
Ambassador Jadranka Negodic of Bosnia

alt alt alt
alt alt alt