Until now "Voices for Freedom" (Stimmen für die Freiheit) has featured individual guests of the Hamburg Foundation for politically persecuted People and their stories.
Today we want to tap into the vast knowledge and experience of our guests as well as members of our network. Alex Znatkevich (Belarus), Murat Utgur (Turkey) and Kamal Chomani (Iraqi Kurdistan) will debate the origin and dangers of the imperialistic dreams of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan.
Both leaders are working hard to take their countries to the might and glory of long passed times. Both have adopted a revisionist interpretation of history. And both are not afraid to threaten to employ military means. The migrant crisis created by Belarus, the staging of Russian military personell and hardware close to the border with the Ukraine and the Turkish attacks on Kurdish territories inside and along the border with Syria are but some recent examples.
The panel, however, observes wider strategic and geopolitical implications of such policies. The American withdrawal from the the middle eastern theatre has created a power vacuum in the region which Moscow and Ankara are trying to fill up quickly. Based on the assumption of liberal democracies inevitably end in political chaos and social turmoil, both Putin and Erdogan try to lure autocrats both in central and eastern Europa and the Middle East under their protective umbrellas of authoritarian rule.
Analyzing clear and present dangers of military conflict in the heart of Europe, Alex Zatkevich, Murat Uigur and Kamal Chomani plea for Western and especially for European democracies to finally agree on a common foreign and military Policy and to stand up for Human rights and Freedom: "The longer we wait, the higher the price to pay will be!"