The Middle East, as one of the cradles of civilization, contains the most important historical, cultural and economic assets of the World. The most sacred and oldest cities such as Damascus, Hamedan and Kirkuk, Petra, Ephesus, Palmira are in this region. The Middle East possesses %65 of the oil reserves in the world.
However, the region is also hampered by political uncertainties and economic instability problems, affecting both the people in the Middle East and outsiders who have close economic and political ties with the region.
The concepts of state and sovereignty have different meanings in the Middle East. Such concepts do not function the same way they do in the West or other places. Such differences lay at the heart of the economic, political and social problems in the region and prompt occasional crises, influencing the daily lives of the people. Therefore the major problems in the Middle East need further elaboration and conceptual discussions.
The democratization waves of the 1990s were being expected in the Middle East since the end of the Cold War. The current events of the Arab Spring, though reviving such hopes, are not clear for heading towards democratization. Even though it is clear that these developments point to a process of transformation in the region, we need further studies about whether they will lead to a more stable and more democratic Middle East.
Undoubtedly, democracy, stability, freedom, and security are the most urgent needs. Sectarian violence and clashing ethnic identities stand as barriers in front of satisfaction of such needs. Therefore, the impact of states and non-state actors participating in such conflicts and clashes, on the transformation process needs elaborate analyses.
In this context of such urgent political and intellectual needs, the theme of the symposium at Kırıkkale University to be held in May 2016, is titled “State, Non-state Actors, and Democracy in the Middle East.” This is the second symposium on the Middle Eastern issues, which we aim to make into a long lasting series at Kırıkkale University. We expect your participation in and contributions to these discussions.