The NYU Center for Global Affairs' Scenarios Initiative Releases Turkey 2020 and Ukraine 2020 Reports

Reports based on narratives developed by panels of foreign policy experts and funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York

NEW YORK, June 7, 2011 - The Center for Global Affairs (CGA) within the New York University School of Continuing and Professional Studies (NYU-SCPS) has released Turkey 2020 and Ukraine 2020, the latest reports issued by its Scenarios Initiative (  The reports, funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, are the fifth and sixth in the CGA series that examines likely foreign policy issues facing the United States.

The CGA Scenarios Initiative aims to raise the quality of U.S. foreign policy by improving policymakers’ understanding of and reaction to change. The project gathers experts from diverse skill sets and nationalities to participate in interactive scenario-building workshops. Rather than attempting to predict the future of each country, the Turkey 2020 and Ukraine 2020 reports project three plausible alternative scenarios for each country and their consequences for U.S. interests. 

Both Turkey and Ukraine are pivotal countries, though for very different reasons. Turkey is a democratic Muslim-majority state with a strong economy and realistic aspirations for regional leadership. It seeks both EU membership and close ties with the Middle East. Ukraine is a former Soviet satellite with authoritarian political tendencies, deep internal divisions, and a foreign policy currently veering towards Russia. In imagining a wide range of possible events and trends for the coming decade, the Scenarios reports suggest opportunities for the U.S. to encourage the more favorable scenarios, while inhibiting those with negative consequences for U.S. interests.

The Turkey 2020 report describes the following three scenarios:

Scenario One: Illiberal Islamist

The Justice and Development Party (AKP) consolidates its power by capitalizing on the weakness of the secularist opposition, responding to the demands of the conservative urban lower-middle class, and building an alliance with the Islamist Felicity Party (SP). By 2020, Sunni Islam is the most powerful force in domestic and foreign policy, to the exclusion of minority views.

Scenario Two: Illiberal Secularist
The AKP faces socio-economic challenges, increasing resistance to its Islamist tendencies, and a deteriorating security situation. This creates an opportunity for the Republican People’s Party (CHP) to come to power with the support of the military and the National Movement Party (MHP). The new coalition espouses a strong, secure, and secular Turkey. In pursuing these goals, however, it tends toward authoritarianism. 

Scenario Three: Political Pluralism
The AKP loses support when it fails to mitigate Turkey’s socio-economic problems. Dissatisfaction prompts civil society and political parties to begin coalescing around new approaches to the economy, corruption, regional development, and governance. Politics becomes more competitive, forcing parties to compromise in order to build governing coalitions, and the polarization between secularist and Islamist forces gives way to pragmatism.

The Ukraine 2020 report details the following three scenarios:

Scenario One: Fragmentation from Failed Authoritarianism

President Victor Yanukovych and his Party of Regions (PoR) initially manage to monopolize power, but their divisive policies and failure to restore economic growth generate significant dissatisfaction. The opposition, however, radicalizes and fragments, such that Yanukovych remains in power throughout the decade, albeit suffering a deep crisis of legitimacy. Local needs and expectations become of paramount importance—to the detriment of national unity.

Scenario Two: National Consensus Leading to Reform
Worsening economic conditions and a poor response from the Yanukovych administration galvanize opposition politicians, small-business owners, and young bureaucrats to action. When some oligarchs join this opposition coalition, the balance of power shifts decidedly against Yanukovych, paving the way for a pragmatic, reform-oriented leader to come to power and lead change in Ukraine. 

Scenario Three: Strategic Authoritarianism
Yanukovych establishes himself at the apex of a power vertical, which he manages to maintain throughout the decade by exploiting the weakness of his opposition and meeting the expectations of his elite backers and the public for “stability” and economic growth.

The CGA Scenarios Initiative has attracted leading experts representing a wide range of academic, commercial, and diplomatic expertise in each of the target countries. These workshops are unscripted and conversational in nature. The format enables the participants to challenge prevailing assumptions and attitudes towards the country under analysis and express their personal views. The Initiative is led by CGA Clinical Professor Michael Oppenheimer, who has for nearly 40 years provided research, consulting, and policy advice for the U.S. foreign policy and intelligence communities, using similar scenarios-building exercises. 

Turkey 2020 and Ukraine 2020 are available for download at or  A full report on Pakistan 2020 will be released in September 2011. Previous reports on Iran, Iraq, China, and Russia can also be accessed through both websites. 

EDITORS: For more information about the CGA Scenarios Initiative, please contact Cheryl Feliciano at

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