Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation campaigning for a reunited Cyprus.
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26 July 2011
The Eurozone crisis and the balance of power in the Eastern Mediterranean
Professor Francois Nectoux of Kingston University London delivered on 13 July 2011 the annual Lobby for Cyprus seminar as part of Cyprus Week at Theatro Technis.

The Eurozone crisis: does it alter the balance of power in the eastern Mediterranean in favour of Turkey and against Cyprus?

The subject of Professor Nectoux's seminar was the extent to which the current Eurozone crisis and in particular the collapse of the Greek economy, would have repercussions on Cyprus. 

Professor Nectoux's conclusion was that the collapse of the Eurozone would be especially alarming for Cyprus, which had relatively recently joined the Euro, but despite that, other factors would have more of a bearing on the search for a settlement in Cyprus than the problems of the Euro. Professor Nectoux thought that the issues in Cyprus needed to be placed within their regional context and even though Greece was in crisis and the Eurozone crisis has altered the balance of power between Greece and Turkey markedly in favourt of Turkey, this in itself was not decisive as far as Cyprus was concerned.
 
Professor Nectoux thought that of more significance than the collapse of Greece was the fact that over the last few years Turkey had re-positioned itself within the region and had now become a major partner of a number of Arab states. Turkey's influence could be seen in Libya and Syria, in Egypt and Bahrain. Turkey was also deeply involved in building relations with Iran and maintaining a military presence in Afghanistan. He considered the Eurozone crisis as the manifesttaion of the collapse of the old world in which the EU had supported Arab regimes at a time when Turkey was developing this stronger regional presence. Indeed Turkey's enhanced role coincided with a general loss of influence by the EU and in particular Greece in the region. The end result was therefore that Turkey had now become the dominant player in the region. 
 
Professor Nectoux contrasted the EU and especially Greece's misfortune with that of Turkey. Turkey was now rebounding from its own economic crisis and felt sufficiently confident in its own strength not to remain wedded to the need to become an EU member state.
 
But what then did a strong and dominant Turkey mean for Cyprus? Professor Nectoux argued, somewhat controversially, that a confident and influential Turkey might not represent as massive an impediment to a solution in Cyprus and the opposite might be the case. A Turkey that had nothing to fear from Greece or Cyprus could afford to be more generous than one that was worried about a loss of power or influence to Greeks. This view was not accpeted by the majority of the audience and in fact, since the seminar, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has made some of the most controversial statements ever made by a Turkish politican in which he stated that Turkey is no longer prepared to offer any concessions in order to reach a Cyprus settlement. 

Professor Nectoux's analysis was extremely thought provoking and relevant. 

François Nectoux is Professor of European Studies at Kingston University, London, where he teaches international politics and international relations. Trained at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris and at the Sorbonne where he obtained his doctorate, he has been an international consultant for institutions as diverse as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and ERR Ltd, before becoming an academic. He has researched and published on European and French politics, as well as on international environmental politics. He is currently working on French cultural diplomacy and Mediterranean and African geopolitics. 

Click here to view the seminar followed by a question and answer session »