On RT’s Alyona Show, ‘[c]orrespondent Laura Emmett explains what’s on the agenda this year [at Davos] . . . Every year the world’s financial, political and business elite gather at the ski resort in Davos, Switzerland to supposedly solve the world’s problems’ (26 January 2011).
On its dedicated website, the ‘World Economic Forum [announces that it] is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas’. On another webpage, Martina Gmur explains under the heading “The new geopolitical reality” that the ‘international balance of power has shifted, according to the Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Geopolitical Risk, from a world order dominated by the G7 free market democracies to one in which emerging market states enjoy much greater economic and political clout. Many of these states hold quite different views than leading industrialized states on how the global economy should operate and on the proper role for the state in economic development. “The result is a vacuum of leadership that will complicate efforts to restore confidence in global economic growth following the most significant market meltdown of the past seven decades”. The new reality will provide the following opportunities: for governments of medium-sized rising powers like Brazil, Indonesia and Turkey to redefine their roles on the regional and international stages [,] for resource-rich African countries to benefit from new economic relationships [,] for the United States to find a sustainable international leadership role that allows for the sharing of more of the burdens of provision of global public goods. For international companies and investors the opportunities come with the understanding of the new reality. The Global Agenda Council on Geopolitical Risk forecasts that: CEOs who understand the increased role of governments in market activity in many countries, particularly in state capitalist emerging markets, will be best positioned to benefit from first-mover advantage [.] Companies with diversified risk exposure will be better placed to survive an inevitable period of volatility in global markets [.] The players who recognize that emerging markets pose unique risks and opportunities will be best placed to profit. Some of the challenges include increased nationalism in both developed and developing states, increased potential for West-East tensions, and greater state intervention in the economy by developed and developing nations’.
Gmur was quoting from the sixth edition of the Global Risks report issued by the World Economic Forum. The 7-page report ends with a section called Wildcards, where it enumerates possible sources for crisis and mayhem in the coming year: the “Korean Peninsula”, “Iran’s nuclear program”, “Pakistan”, and last but clearly not least “Europe’s contagion crisis”. The Global Risks report states that “some EU governments will face risks of sovereign default”, combined with “the bid to save the eurozone, and the nationalist tensions it will create” could lead to a volatile global situation.
All in all, a talking shop with a well-filled agenda. As for the Turkish presence at Davos this year, the World Bulletin reports that ‘Turkey joins the 41st annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF), that will begin in Davos on Wednesday [, 26 January 2011], after two-year break. After Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stormed out of a panel at the 2009 summit, in reaction to Israeli President Shimon Peres and the panel moderation, relations between Turkey and the World Economic Forum, organizer of the summit, soured. Erdogan said after the Jan. 29, 2009 incident that he would not go to Davos anymore and that Davos was finished for him. The official opening ceremony for this year’s annual meeting which will focus on “Shared Norms for the New Reality” will be held tonight. Deputy Premier Ali Babacan will represent Turkey in this year’s conference. He is expected to hold a press conference at International Esenboga Airport in Ankara prior to his departure for Switzerland. 2500 participants from over 100 countries will attend the WEF annual meeting. 1400 leading businesspeople from around the globe are expected to attend the meeting. Heads of state and government and government officials from 35 countries are expected to attend the summit. Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Simşek and Central Bank Governor Durmuş Yılmaz will also attend the meeting’.
Following Tayyip Erdoğan’s well-calculated “One Minute” stunt which catapulted him and Turkey in its pseudo-Ottoman guise to unseen heights of popularity in the Arab world, the AKP government has resumed its position at the table of the movers and shakers of the business and financial world. After all, Turkey is a potential member of the BRIC+T group of erstwhile peripheral nations which will determine the global agenda in years and decades to come.