EMU Attends “Pandemonium” Conference in Athens

Chair of the Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) Business and Economics Faculty, Political Science and International Relations Department and President of EMU-CPC Prof. Dr. Ahmet Sözen and EMU-CPC Research Assistant Devrim Şahin attended a conference titled “Pandemonium: Interrogating The Apocalyptic Imaginaries Of Our Times” and delivered presentations about their work. The Pandemonium conference, the 15th of the Pan-European conference series held annually by the European International Studies Association (EISA), was held at Athens Panteion University between the 1st and 4th of September 2022.

Enduring Peace and Collective Action

Delivering a speech on the “International Environment” at the “ International Society: Expansion and Change” panel, Prof. Dr. Sözen and Şahin stated that the international legal order reflects an anarchic international society, yet today’s international society has a universal nature. Prof. Dr. Sözen and Şahin stated that the understanding of “collective action” and “universal society” is essential for achieving enduring peace and explained that this quest is not new in the history of humanity and was foreseen by Ancient Greek philosophers including Aristotle. Pointing out that although nearly 2500 years have passed, the international community is still far from permanent peace and collective action, Dr. Sözen and Şahin added that short-term and individual political interests and ambitions are the main reasons for this. During the presentation, it was also emphasized that the problems of collective action could be overcome by placing the rules of international law into national legal systems as control and braking mechanisms and somehow, by intertwining them.

The Principle of Unpredictability

Speaking on the “foundations of knowledge” during the “Encounters of the Classical Approach with the Apocalypse” panel, Prof. Dr. Sözen and Şahin emphasized that the theories of international relations can inform the science of international law in a healthy way, with the acceptance of the paradigm shift in the scientific method. Prof. Dr. Sözen and Şahin put forth that the scientific methods of international relations are based on the reductionist Newtonian classical science used in physics, but this method, which has an understanding of a linear and predictable universe, is no longer popular in physics. Pointing to the rise of quantum science in physics in the light of Heisenberg’s “unpredictability principle” since the early 1900s, Prof. Dr. Sözen and Şahin underlined that the universe is unpredictable according to this understanding, which focuses on transformative action-reaction spirals and complex-adaptive systemic features. Prof. Dr. Sözen and Şahin claimed that unlike physical systems, social systems are based on ‘self-consciousness’ and that with the acceptance of the unpredictability principle, an international legal framework that limits risky individual ambitions can be negotiated.

Revolutionary Chaotic Peace

The participants showed great interest in the panels during which the findings of the doctoral thesis on “Revolutionary Chaotic Peace” authored by Şahin and supervised by Prof. Dr. Sözen at the Department of Political Science and International Relations at EMU. Upon the questions about what the study, which claims to be a new theory, offers different from the existing theories in the literature, Prof. Dr. Sözen and Şahin pointed out that since the international relations system has been defined as anarchic, this understanding has never been openly rejected and everything else has been accepted as inapplicable. Pointing out that the Revolutionary Chaotic Peace theory calls for an end to this manipulative perception, Prof. Dr. Sözen and Şahin claimed that the international relations system can be analyzed more soundly by accepting the complexity principle, which is the common basis of quantum and chaotic understanding.


Devrim Şahin and Achiri Emmanuel Attended an International Conference in Slovakia

Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) Business and Economics Faculty, Political Science and International Relations Department Research Assistants Devrim Şahin and Achiri Emmanuel attended a conference titled “Back to the Margins?” which was held in Bratislava, Slovakia between 22 and 24 June 2022. Şahin and Emmanuel, who made presentations in the panel “Borders and Neighborhoods of the European Union (EU)” and “Migration and Politics in Central Europe and Eastern Europe”, discussed the relations of the EU with its environment during their presentatio. Şahin and Emmanuel pointed out the importance of the EU adopting itself as a global role as a soft power, normative power, transformative power or model for the solution of problems, and the goal of spreading peace and prosperity within itself along with the enlargement process.

 “Regional Consensus and Cooperation is a Must”

Touching upon the challenges such as the global economic crisis, transnational terrorism, global democratic regression and mass refugee influx that emerged with the 2000s, Şahin and Emmanuel stated that the ruling role in Moscow’s ex-Soviet geography, which is the basis of Russia’s Ukraine and Georgia wars, and the claim of global energy hegemony adds salt and pepper to the existing problems. In order for the EU to break the Russian energy monopoly, which Moscow uses as a political pressure tool, and to diversify its energy sources, in accordance with the “EU 2030 Climate Goals”, the transition to renewable energy instead of fossil fuels and in this context, the undersea power transmission line project, which will connect the Middle East-Africa- Continental electricity networks are of utmost importance. Adding that regional consensus and cooperation are essential for the healthy realization of the EU’s goals, Şahin and Emmanuel emphasized that Ankara will strengthen its cooperation with Moscow if Turkey, which has the longest coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean, is excluded from energy projects. Şahin and Emmanuel claimed that the rapprochement between Russia and Turkey, whose presence is now well felt in the Eastern Mediterranean, with their bases in Syria, would mean that the rivalry and polarization between Moscow and the West in Eurasia would be transferred to the Eastern Mediterranean.

“Need for Global Solutions”

Drawing attention to the global dimensions of today’s problems, Şahin and Emmanuel stated that global solutions are needed and the global role that the EU can play has gained vital importance; However, they also explained that the same problems serve to strengthen the sovereign and nationalist skepticism towards the process of enlargement in the union. Stating that Brussels has adopted a tactical strategy based on the centre-periphery approach, which sees Turkey as a buffer state that will serve to isolate the EU from chaotic regions, Şahin and Emmanuel cited the “2016 Turkey-EU Refugee Agreement” as an example. Şahin and Emmanuel added that this agreement made it impossible for the EU to force Turkey’s democratic transformation by applying the conditionality principles. On the contrary, they stated that Ankara is moving away from the democratic restoration process by using the agreement as a tool of pressure and that its relations with Brussels are deadlocked. Pointing out that all the negative developments have shown that the EU should abandon tactical strategies immediately, Şahin and Emmanuel concluded their speech by calling for Brussels to adopt a visionbased strategy that would embrace Turkey’s democratic social forces

China’s Development Success Examined in EMU

China’s success in development was discussed in a seminar organized by the Eastern Mediterranean University Cyprus Policy Center (EMU-CPC) in collaboration with EMU Business and Economics Faculty, Political Science and International Relations Department. After delivering the opening address of the seminar, Chair of EMU Political Science and International Relations Department and EMU-CPC President Prof. Dr. Ahmet Sözen left the floor to Prof. Dr. Bahri Yılmaz, the speaker of the seminar. In addition to his academic career, Prof. Dr. Yılmaz has served as the Head of the Oficial Representative of Turkish Chambers of Commerce and Industry in the Federal Republic of Germany and the Chief Advisor to the Ministry of State for European Union (EU) Affairs. Prof. Dr. Yılmaz has many publications on the EU, the economy of the Mediterranean region, international political economy, new and emerging markets, foreign direct investment and globalization.

During his speech, Prof. Dr. Bahri Yılmaz examined whether China’s development success contradicted with the thesis put forward by Daron Acemoğlu and James Robinson in their 2012 book “Why Nations Fail”. According to Acemoğlu and Robinson, who claim that the main reason underlying the differences in welfare and economic growth between countries is the corporate structure; and institutions are divided into two as inclusive institutions and extractive institutions. Inclusive institutions create an environment that enables wider participation and encourages investment, weakening the elites in society and paving the way for economic growth. On the other hand, China’s institutional structure is defined as a narrower segment and centrally managed extractive institutions that are closed to innovation.

Stating that the book “Why Nations Fail” claims that China, which has followed an authoritarian growth path since 1978, is on the wrong side of history and is on the wrong path, Prof. Dr. Yılmaz pointed out that China’s economic development has emerged very differently from what Acemoğlu and Robinson claimed. Continuing his speech, Prof. Dr. Yılmaz stated that China will continue to follow the development model that it has been implementing and will give priority to economic development moves, but will gradually focus on democratic and liberal reforms under the authoritarian regime once they have reached their goals.

EMU Hosts a Seminar on ‘Chinese Foreign Policy in the 21st Century’

Eastern Mediterranean University Cyprus Policy Center (EMU CPC) and EMU Faculty of Business and Economics, Department of Political Science and International Relations hosted a seminar on “Chinese Foreign Policy in the 21st Century” on Thursday, 26 May 2022. After delivering the opening speech, Chair of EMU Political Science and International Relations Department and EMU CPC Prof. Dr. Ahmet Sözen introduced Prof. Dr. Çağdaş Üngör to the participants and left the floor to her. Working at Marmara University, Department of Political Science and International Relations, Prof. Dr. Üngör has many studies on Turkish-Chinese relations as well as on issues related to China.

Evaluating the Ukraine crisis and the Chinese foreign policy, Prof. Dr. Üngör emphasized the importance of China’s “one country, two systems policy” especially in the design and building of Chinese foreign policy. Emphasizing that the principles that form the basis of Chinese foreign policy are non-intervention in the internal affairs of other countries, respect for their local jurisdictions and win-win solutions, Prof. Dr. Üngör added that the effects of China’s semi-colonial past, antiimperialism and “Third World” policy are observed in China’s policies. Prof. Dr. Üngör also put forth that in today’s Chinese foreign policy, targets such as balancing the US hegemony, creating an international environment conducive to China’s economic growth, maintaining the status quo in China and finding diplomatic solutions to the problems come to the fore.

Pointing out that China is portrayed as a threat by NATO and in the US National Defense Strategy document, Prof. Dr. Üngör explained that the underlying reasons are the trade competition between the US and China, the policies of enmity between the two countries, the negative effects of the Trump era and the pandemic process. Pointing out that the competition with the USA has increased the importance of Russia for China, Prof. Dr. Üngör expressed that although China did not approve of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it did not impose sanctions. Prof. Dr. Üngör stated that it is not healthy to predict the future from now, but the outstanding good scenario is that China is a responsible stakeholder that contributes to international organizations and balances the power of the USA, and the negative scenario is that China challenges the international system, divides the world with alliances, and opposes its neighbors. 

EMU Hosts a Conference on Isolation of Turkey from Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum

“Turkey’s Isolation from the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum: Ideational Mechanisms and Material Interests” seminar was held at EMU within the cooperation of Eastern Mediterranean University Cyprus Policy Center (EMU-CPC) and Business and Economics Faculty, Political Science and International Relations Department. The opening speech of the seminar was delivered by EMU Political Science and International Relations Department Head and EMU-CPC Chair Prof. Dr. Ahmet Sözen. Highlighting the importance of the topic discussed and its timing, given the developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, Prof. Dr. Sözen gave the floor to the guest speaker Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pınar İpek. The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) Economy and Technology University academic staff member Assoc. Prof. İpek has important studies in the field of international political economy energy security.

During her speech, Assoc. Prof.0 Dr. İpek emphasized that the policies to develop hydrocarbon resources, while highlighting new cooperative structures in the Eastern Mediterranean, also triggering mutually escalating tensions. Touching on Turkey’s deteriorating relations with Greece, the Greek Cypriot Administration and Israel on the development of hydrocarbon resources, Assoc. Prof. Dr. İpek stated that this interaction led to Turkey’s exclusion from the process of institutionalization of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum. Assoc. Prof. Dr. İpek stated that in the regionalization process between 2010 and 2020, intellectual mechanisms played an important role in the failure to reach an agreement between Turkey and the aforementioned regional actors. Noting that in addition to Turkey’s exclusion from the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum, there have been shifts in Turkish foreign policy preferences, Assoc. Prof. Dr. İpek cited ancient cognitive factors, redefined ideas of cause and effect, and exogenous ideas as causes.

Upon the questions asked by the participants, Assoc. Prof. Dr. İpek highlighted the importance of liquefied gas, shale gas and renewable resources and claimed that renewable resources will make the planned pipeline project in the Eastern Mediterranean more attractive to international investors. Assoc. Prof. Dr. İpek stated that the developments in the Eastern Mediterranean are of great importance in the environment of Russia’s war against Ukraine, and that the Russian gas’s ability to export natural gas to the Asian market, which is defined as the “energy angle”, through new routes, reduces Russia’s dependence on the European market.

“Key Features of the Russian Style of Thinking” Discussed in EMU

Eastern Mediterranean University Cyprus Policy Center (EMU CPC) and EMU Faculty of Business and Economics, Department of Political Science and International Relations organized a seminar titled “Key Features of Russian Style of Thinking: Continuity and Change”. The opening speech of the seminar was delivered by the Chair of EMU Political Science and International Relations Department and CPC, Prof. Dr. Ahmet Sözen. In his speech, Prof. Dr. Sözen stated that the topic discussed and its timing are very appropriate considering the latest developments, including the Russian military operation in Ukraine. Prof. Dr. Sözen then introduced EMU Political Science and International Relations Department Research Assistant Dr. Vera Liubchak.

After receiving her PhD in Cultural Philosophy from Tomsk State University in Russia in 2010, she worked as an Associate Professor in the Department of History, Political Science and Cultural Studies at Novosibirsk State University in Russia until 2020. In addition to the features of the Russian way of thinking, Liubchak continues to work on peacekeeping issues. Dr. Liubchak has been pursuing her second doctorate studies at EMU Political Science and International Relations Department since 2020.

During her talk, Dr. Liubchak stated that the prevailing way of thinking in Russia has a great influence on the design and construction of Russian foreign policy, and that according to this way of thinking, features such as emotional perception of reality, superficiality against knowledge, fatalism, survival and cultural duality come to the fore. In this context, emphasizing that the boundaries between community and individuality are intertwined, Dr. Liubchak added that this is especially reflected as a lack of respect for personal privacy and freedom, and the effects of this are observed in the Russian foreign policy. Dr. Liubchak stated that the way of thinking that was active in the foreign policy of Tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union continues in today’s Russian politics, and the lack of critical questioning in Russian culture and education system is observed as the underlying reason.

The Arab Spring Being Discussed in EMU After 10 Years

The Arab Spring – 10 Years On: Popular Protests and Political Change in the MENA region” conference organized in cooperation with the Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) Cyprus Policy Center (EMU-CPC) and EMU Political Science and International Relations Department was held in EMU. Moderated by EMU Political Science and International Relations Department Head and the chair of EMU-CPC Prof. Dr. Ahmet Sözen, the event hosted Near East University Political Science Department Head Prof. Dr. Nur Köprülü as a guest speaker.

Starting her speech by stating that one of the main questions re-emerging in the post-2011 Arab Uprisings period is to what extent these popular protests and popular calls for political opening will lead to democratization in the Middle East and North Africa region, Prof. Dr. Köprülü added that contrary to the prevailing thought that explains the permanence of authoritarian regimes as a derivative of cultural originality and patriarchy, the Arab Uprisings crossed the threshold of fear and led to a new political activism in the region. Examining the results and effects of the Arab Uprisings, what these protests tell us, why Arab Democracies did not exist, the idea that the regimes did not follow similar paths in the Middle East and North Africa region during the protests and in the following period, Prof. Dr. Köprülü said it was impossible to talk about “Arab Way” as a result. Stating that it is too early to evaluate these movements as an indicator of a “revolutionary transformation” in the region, Prof. Dr. Köprülü, however, pointed out that the fact that there has been a change in the reformulation of “state-society relations” and the definition of “citizenship” cannot be ignored.

EMU Organizes International Conference on Security Studies in Cooperation with Adam Mickiewicz University

Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) and Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland organized an international scientific conference within the scope of the collaboration agreement signed between the two institutions. The conference devoted to current challenges in international security was held online on 17 November 2021. Consisting of four discussion panels (global aspects of international security, European security, security issues in Central Eastern Europe and Eastern Mediterranean security), the conference aimed to encourage international cooperation, respect and dialogue culture.

“The Improvements Should be approached at Macro and Global Level”

Participated as one of the panel moderators, EMU Political Science and International Relations Department Head and the Chair of EMU Cyprus Policy Center (CPC) Prof. Dr. Ahmet Sözen delivered a speech during the Eastern Mediterranean security panel. Prof. Dr. Sözen started his speech by stating that in order to understand the Eastern Mediterranean, it is necessary to understand the developments at the macro and global level before the local and regional problems, and then focus on the region and the local. Stating that the populist policies have risen, more and more democratic countries have turned into an authoritarian regime, a new power structure has emerged in which the USA has weakened and China and Russia have risen relatively, problems between some European countries led by the USA and France within the NATO alliance, Prof. Dr. Sözen added that all these global developments had an impact on the developments in the Eastern Mediterranean region. Pointing out that Turkey, which is an important actor with the longest coastline in the region, takes these developments into account and therefore, acts more assertively both diplomatically and militarily, Prof. Dr. Sözen emphasized that the underlying reason for the competition in the Eastern Mediterranean is not the possession and control of more natural resources, as many claim, but the change in power on a global scale.

“Trust Building between the Two Communities of Cyprus is Necessary”

EMU Political Science and International Relations Department academic staff member Dr. İpek Borman also delivered a speech during the Eastern Mediterranean panel and evaluated the limitations and potentials of the Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus problem from a security perspective. Stating that she believes that the evaluation of the Eastern Mediterranean issue through the strategic prism of traditional security approaches is a problematic approach, Dr. Borman stated that this was seen in the security complex that emerged in the Eastern Mediterranean region. Dr. Borman emphasized that a security paradox has emerged in the region, which discourse and actions must be distrusted in order to overcome this, and that trust must be built between the two communities of Cyprus. She pointed out that eliminating social insecurity, trauma and fears in societies is of great importance for a more peaceful future, and that the Cyprus problem should be rethought by bringing the human factor to the fore.

EMU Hosts a Conference on Peace Engineering

On November 10, 2021, Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) Cyprus Policy Center (CPC) and EMU Political Science and International Relations Department organized a conference titled “Peace Engineering in the Field, Challenges in Post-Conflict Governance”. The conference moderated by EMU-CPC Chair Prof. Dr. Ahmet Sözen hosted speaker Graham Day, who has great experience in peace processes as an official of both the British and Canadian Navies and international organizations such as the United Nations.

“The Cynefin Framework Should Be Adopted as a Guide”

Day started his speech by explaining that there are different types of practices that require different approaches and a flexible operational understanding to run the peace process. Day added that said the “Cynefin Framework” provides both conceptual and operational guidance, helping leaders and decision makers divide problems into four areas—obvious, complicated, complex and chaotic—and then respond appropriately to those areas. Stating that all four areas of the Cynefin Framework contain some kind of limitation, application and guidance on how to respond to a situation, Day mentioned that guidance in that area can be used to act according to the specifiec area to which the conditions are related.

“Chaotic Area Should Be Avoided”

Day pointed out that the open space for situations with known outcomes is for knowing the facts of the situation, categorizing accordingly and responding with best practices, while the complex area involves gathering, examining and reacting to incoming data. Day added that in the complicated area where there is no clarity in the cause-effect relationship and where legitimacy is very important, it is necessary to try different things by breaking the problem into pieces, and that the chaotic area that includes events such as conflict must be avoided in order to maintain the peace process.

“Not Every Problem is Complicated”

At the end of his speech, noting that peacemakers spend most of their time in open or complicated areas of the Cynefin Framework, Day stated that not every problem is complicated, but should be treated as a complex adaptive system that evolves. Day pointed out that there are some steps to overcome difficulties in managing the peace process, that these steps are not absolute laws, but heuristics or contingency guidelines that save the situation and resources.

EMU Hosts a Conference on Developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus

A conference on developments in Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean region was held in cooperation with the Eastern Mediterranean University Cyprus Policy Center (EMU CPC) and the Department of Political Science and International Relations. The conference, which consisted of a workshop panel and a discussion panel, was moderated by EMU academic staff member Assist. Prof. Dr. Aylin Gürzel. Ankara Yıldırım Beyazıt University (AYBU) Head of International Relations Department Prof. Dr. Giray Sadık, Peace Research Institute of Oslo (PRIO) Cyprus Center Senior Researcher Mete Hatay, Middle East Technical University (METU) academic staff member Assist. Prof. Dr. Hayriye Kahveci and EMU academic staff member Dr. İpek Borman made presentations at the said event. Both panels of the conference held at EMU were also offered in an online format.

“No Discrimination for NATO Allies That Are Not EU Members”

Speaking at the conference, Prof. Dr. Sadık stated that the international threats arising from the Syrian war has shown how interdependent the security of the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is with the security of Turkey. Pointing out that Euro-Atlantic cooperation is needed more than ever in the mass influx of refugees, border security and the fight against terrorism, Prof. Dr. Sadık stated that for an effective cooperation, a real partnership and intelligence sharing are needed between the EU and NATO. Prof. Dr. Sadık also emphasized that no discrimination should be made against NATO allies that are not members of the EU, such as Turkey.

“Harsh Policies”

Senior Researcher Hatay said that during the AKP’s first decade in power, Turkey sought to transform the country into a global player by spreading its soft power in the Western Balkans, Southeastern Europe, Southern Caucasus and the Middle East. Hatay stated that Turkey, which experienced an unprecedented economic growth during this period, has become a hope for many people in these regions. However, in the ongoing process, Hatay pointed out that events such as the Arab Spring, Gezi Park demonstrations, problems with Fethullah Gülen, coup attempt and regime change have increased the AKP’s need for the votes of groups such as the MHP in domestic politics and caused it to reshape its policies. He stated that soft power policies have been replaced by rather harsh policies.

“Natural Gas Discoveries Led to Regional Geopolitical Changes”

Assist. Prof. Dr. Kahveci stated that the natural gas discoveries off the Eastern Mediterranean caused regional geopolitical changes. Stating that the Greek Cypriot Administration’s hydrocarbon exploration activities in the last ten years and its attempt to use the issue as a pressure tool in the negotiations, the negotiations have become difficult, Assist. Prof. Dr. Kahveci mentioned that Turkey and the TRNC had previously acted on the principle of reciprocity, but after the Crans Montana talks failed, a more proactive Turkish foreign policy has been observed. Assist. Prof. Dr. Kahveci pointed out that the international community does not have a concrete policy in the region, and drew attention to the negative effects of the Arab Spring, the Syrian war and the lack of regional power on the Cyprus problem.

“Reconciliation and Trust Must Be Built”

Dr. Borman stated that especially in the past 10 years, the Eastern Mediterranean has turned into a regional security complex, which means security dilemmas concentrated in certain geographical areas. Stating that the hydrocarbon issue and the acceptance of Cyprus, which the Greek Cypriots unilaterally represent, to the European Union played an important role in this process. Dr. Borman also pointed out that the developments in the Eastern Mediterranean were articulated with the established political discourses and social insecurities in Cyprus. Dr. Borman said that the security dilemma in Cyprus should be revisited in terms of reconciliation and trust building, so that we can imagine a Cyprus beyond realpolitics and today’s Cyprus. Dr. Borman claimed that these processes are the key in transforming the two communities on the island into a pluralistic one.

“Collaboration Must Be Meaningful”

Responding to the questions in the second panel held in the afternoon, Prof. Dr. Sadık stated that the conflicts between the Atlanticists in the EU and the central Europeanists led by France do not offer much hope for the future of NATO. Claiming that narrow-minded EU policies are likely to exacerbate the refugee problem and threats from terrorism, Prof. Dr. Sadık pointed out that international issues such as terrorism and the pandemic show how interconnected the security of EU member states and Turkey are. For this reason, Prof. Dr. Sadık emphasized that emerging strategies such as NATO-2030 should reflect this interdependence in a mutually reinforcing way for meaningful cooperation.