For people who follow Turkish politics, the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit was notable for a public spectacle at Washington's Brookings Institution, where security guards for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tried to prevent some journalists from covering a speech by the president. Meanwhile, outside the building, Ergodan's guards got into fistfights with protestors who called him a terrorist.
For people not invested in Turkish politics, the summit offered many meetings on nuclear security—plus a chance for reflection on what the summit process has accomplished and what remains to be done.
In this roundtable, participants broadly agree that security for nuclear materials still needs improvement, but they disagree on how the international community should seek to maintain progress now that the summits are finished. In particular, how much attention from heads of state is required going forward? Will the international community continue to care about nuclear security if heads of state pose for no "family photo" every other year? My roundtable colleague Michael H. Fuchs has his doubts. But I argue that the international community will care—thanks above all to the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) ability to coordinate global nuclear security efforts and convene meetings at the ministerial level.
Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland
University of Maryland School of Public Policy
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