New Mediterranean Region: Economy, Energy and Security


The Mediterranean, who has direct links with Afro-Eurasia, has been located in the middle of the most important civilization geographies......

The Mediterranean, who has direct links with Afro-Eurasia, has been located in the middle of the most important civilization geographies of the history and has played a founder role in the formation of these civilizations and the interaction among them. The Mediterranean, who links three continents, is important also according to its harmony which is derived of different cultures, religions, languages and political thoughts.

In general, it is possible to divide the Mediterranean as the North and the South. The North has been politically drawing a rich and united/democratic view and has been economically developed by being derived of member and candidate countries of European Union who have coasts to the Mediterranean.

On the other side, in the same time the South has been economically managed by poor, authoritarian regimes and has been economically presenting a view which has been hosting to the conflicts. In the result of cultural differences between the South, who has been derived of Arab countries more as a part of Islamic world, and the North, who has been making Wester values as the criterion and has been heavily involving the Christian countries, the common problems such as security, migration and environment have become the main topic.

The way of sharing the Region by European countries during the 1st World War; and following the 2nd World War, the intervention styles of super powers to the Region in the condition of the Cold War have ignored a natural and healthy interaction among the Mediterranean countries to be founded. So, the normalization in the Region has retarded because of the approaches which have been disregarding social and economic policies that are centered the security. Besides that, lots of actors have been concerned and lots of initiatives leaning on the Region have been existed throughout the history because the Region has important energy resources. NATO, OSCE, the USA, EU and other European and Region countries have developed the various samples of “Mediterranean Diplomacy“ till today.

Migration waves, rising security, environmental problems and increasing energy requirement of Europe have given way to the initiative of EU and Barcelona Declaration. Energy and security-oriented policies which have been tried to maintain by EU and projects such as MED-EMIP (Euro-Mediterranean Energy Market Integration Project) have been based on energy, security and cooperation by the way of dialogue - information sharing. Nowadays, the establishment of the security in every field has been protecting its qualification to be the most important problem which is mutually interested by the Region countries.

However the solution of the problems related with the security without providing a visible amelioration in the economic, social and humanitarian conditions is impossible. An unstable Mediterranean means the loss of dominance on energy ways, and the rise of radicalism, terrorism and organized crimes; and lets Europe come up against the threat of ruining the political balance by triggering the rise of migration to Europe.

In the result of migration from the South Mediterranean countries; European Union has been faced with a new challenge on providing employment for unqualified labor force. And the unemployment has become an important issue that has to be dealt both in Region and in Europe. So the security needs social and economic development. And this is creating an obligation of putting the relations among the countries, who have been into a proximity, onto the fair and trouble-free ground and to deal with energy and security policies towards to the Region in the context of humanitarian development.

On the other hand, Barcelona Process, which has been planned as a multi partnered peace initiative, hasn’t provided an important progress till now. And that has been forming question marks in the subject of the future of the process especially when the fact that the sustainable security area and humanitarian development have been into a mutual dependence has been taken into the account.

Throughout the history, Mediterranean has been the junction point on which the East and the West have met and political, economic, cultural and humanitarian transactions have actualized. Besides these qualifications; its rising geostrategic importance because of being a junction point of energy ways in the recent period has turned the Mediterranean into a situation as an inevitable region for power centers of the international system. Recently, also the developments in Egypt, Tunisia and Lebanon have been confirming the rise of the importance of the Mediterranean more.

20 countries, who have still coasts in the Mediterranean Basin, have been located. These are Spain, France, Italy, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine-Gaza Management, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, TRNC, Greek Cypriot State and Malta.
In the Mediterranean Basin, imperial powers have been keeping military power and trying to keep the Region under control because of its strategical importance. In the Cold War period, the basin was in the Soviet Union’s field of interest as much as the USA. And the USSR effect has been observed in some countries of the basin such as Syria, Egypt and Algeria. As long as the Cold War period, NATO and so the USA have seen as the hegemonic unique power in the Mediterranean. However even if the strengthening of EU and the formation process of its own security and defense identity in the direction of its profits in the basin haven’t been so effective now, it means that the USA isn’t the unique power in the basin, anymore.

In the recent period, it is more privileged than the past that there should be provided the security and the stability in the basin because of the migration and refugee problem, drug traffic, the conflicts based on ethnic and religious differentiation while the projects related with the transfer of petrol and natural gas of the Middle East, North Africa and the Central Asia to the Mediterranean have been increasing the strategical importance of the basin.

EU has started the process of “New Euro-Mediterranean Partnership“ with Barcelona Conference in 1995 by the aim of facilitating its dominance in the Mediterranean Basin under these conditions. In addition since that date put the Mediterranean Basin directly into its field of interest according to economy, foreign policy and security. So EU has taken an important step for its dominance in the Region by forming a common foreign policy and security strategy.

As being aware of these events, Turkey has transferred the “New Mediterranean Vision“ into practice as for gaining the location in the region in the recent period. But it should make more detailed studies towards to the areas that it can be prior in the region within the basic strategy for gaining the expected results from this vision. In this sense, the issues about the energy demand security and the hidrogeopolitics of the Mediterranean Basin has been shaping some opportunities for Turkey.

Water supply projects developed for the East Mediterranean by Turkey has showed up as effective tools for the policies that it can apply in this area. But it is important to determinate all policies more realistically, to transfer them into the practice with the matchy-matchy steps and not to exaggerate the expectations from these strategic tools as in the past.

A Mediterranean Vision that will be formed in a basic strategy axis, can bring the wanted location in the region to Turkey who has lots of advantages in this geography. That should be evaluated as an opportunity for increasing the relations more without conflicts in cases of the energy demand security and the hidrogeopolitics of the Mediterranean Basin and for creating a cooperation opportunity.

However in the Mediterranean Basin, three continents have met and different cultures and civilizations, commercial relations, petrol and natural gas resources and waterways following till the oceans have been appeared, so there is a basin which strategically grabs attention. Today, countries, who have shores onto the Mediterranean sea coast, have got closer to each other in the result of rapid economic and political developments and technological progressions.

By the increase of common dependence relations in lots of sectors especially as energy, trade and environment among riparian countries, the Mediterranean, who was seen as a big sea two centuries ago, has become relatively smaller. These developments, which have been carrying the Mediterranean into the situation of an inland sea partaken of a closed basin, have raised the cooperation search among the basin countries in the situation of sharing the common destiny.

( Süleyman ŞENSOY, Chairman of TASAM | Preface to the book of “Opportunities in the Mediterranean Region; Economy, Energy and Security“ | October 2017, İstanbul )

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Continents ( 5 Fields )
 Contents ( 445 ) Actiivities ( 210 )
Africa 0 144
Asia 0 225
Europe 0 38
Latin America & Carribean 0 31
North America 0 7
Regions ( 4 Fields )
 Contents ( 173 ) Actiivities ( 51 )
Balkans 0 93
Middle East 0 59
Black Sea and Caucasus 0 16
Mediterranean 0 5
Identity Fields ( 2 Fields )
 Contents ( 175 ) Actiivities ( 71 )
Islamic World 0 146
Turkish World 0 29
Turkey ( 1 Fields )
 Contents ( 209 ) Actiivities ( 54 )
Turkey 0 209

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