Today we witness the Middle East and North Africa region that remains the epicentre of world politics and security especially since the turn of the century. The devastating trajectory of the Arab Spring, the failed democratization attempts and the subsequent traumatic civil wars and sectarian conflicts radically destabilized the region where hundreds of thousands of people were killed and millions of others were uprooted and displaced. Further, the solution attempts have proved disheartening and fruitless with no foreseeable end to the crises in such Middle Eastern countries as Iraq, Yemen and Syria. Part of the failure came as a result of pursuing singular solutions to the otherwise entwined problems of the region. The Symposium offers an attempt to discuss and understand the nature and scope of this regional interconnectedness of the Middle Eastern issues by analysing them in a larger context by paying particular attention to the agency and political orientations of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The Symposium will focus on the dynamics of continuity with change in North Africa, Turkey and Iran. North Africa was the cradle of the Arab Spring from where it spread to several Middle Eastern countries and it merits spherical attention to reach to an insightful analysis of the region. On the one hand, having immensely suffered from destabilization, violence and terror in the region especially in Syria and the chronic humanitarian crisis, Turkey has lately taken a more assertive role in regional politics. On the other hand, Iran’s regional policies expanded its influence in the Middle East since the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the removal of Saddam Hossein as well as its rapprochement with the West particularly over the nuclear crisis largely. Within this context IRAM, in partnership with Yıldırım Beyazıt University in Ankara, invites experts from all over the world to explore the trajectory, extent and the future of change and continuity in the Middle East in The First International Semi-Annual Trilogy Conference. The papers can be specific to one country or region or can tackle issues comparatively between them. We will publish the conference proceedings. We also plan to publish an edited volume from the selected articles presented during the Symposium.