Turkish Democracy Project works in favour of Turkish citizens - Mark D. Wallace
The Turkish Democracy Project (TDP) seeks to help Turkey return to its more secular and liberal roots, Mark D. Wallace, CEO of the organisation, an American businessman, former diplomat, and lawyer, who has served in a variety of government, political and private sector posts, said on Thursday in a podcast interview for Ahval, linked below.
Officially launched on June 23, the Turkish Democracy Project is an international policy organisation that says it was “formed in response to Turkey’s recent turn away from democracy and toward authoritarianism.”
Other advisory board members include former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and former Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata.
John Bolton, former U.S. national security advisor under former U.S. President Donald Trump, also joined the advisory council of the group.
Wallace said that TDP is seeking to introduce novel approaches to deal with foreign policy issues.
“Historically, great foreign policy challenges of our time and the times before us had usually been met by governments, foreign ministries, defence departments and intelligence services,” Wallace told Anatolian Dispatch podcast with Edward G. Stafford.
But, private business could play a much larger role in fostering positive governance, he added.
Pointing to the importance of cyber warfare, Wallace said, “We are people who try to fight for the space that is the cyber space. The propaganda which emanates from difficult regimes is checked by truth. We stop that.’’
The TDP sees social media as a valuable tool for inducing positive change in governance, according to Wallace.
The challenge of Turkey has become increasingly difficult as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan amasses more power, he explained.
“The challenge of Turkey is the one that is upon us, and we took it upon ourselves along with a lot of very bright talented former (officials) across the political spectrum.I think it is important to recognise that,” Wallace said.
“What (we) can do is to hopefully convince the Erdoğan government to fundamentally change for the benefit first and foremost of the Turkish people and then secondarily, but very importantly, for all of (Turkey’s) allies in the region and around the world like the United States,” he said.
The TDP hopes to achieve this through a variety of “tactics and tools” ranging from “economic pressure tools, research tools and the truth and transparency of legitimate online and counter program against propaganda”, he added.
The pro-government Turkish media described the Turkish Democracy Project as a project that is introduced by the Fethullah Gülen’s network, which Ankara has branded as a terror organization.
The Turkish government blames followers of Pennsylvania-based cleric Gülen for the July 2016 coup attempt.
Daily Sabah newspaper has labelled the Turkish Democracy Project, whose two Turkish members have left the organisation shortly after it was launched, as a “platform for anti-Turkey propaganda”.
However, Wallace emphasized that TDP wants Turkey and its people to thrive, which President Erdoğan is undermining.
“What we could do is to help thrive Turkey to return to its more secular and liberal roots,” the former diplomat said.
“We do not allow President Erdoğan to intimidate us,” Wallace added.