GPoT Center hosted approximately 40 participants for the 2013 cycle of the High Strategic Studies of the Mediterranean Sea. 9-month long study programs of this kind have been organized by the Mediterranean Foundation of Strategic Studies in partnership with the Institute of High Studies of National Defense for almost two decades.
The group, composed of participants from various social and professional backgrounds mostly from the South of France, visited GPoT Center on April 3rd, 2013 in order to get a deeper understanding of the security and defense policies of Turkey in the Mediterranean region.
Following the introductory remarks by Admiral Jacques Lanxade, the Chair of the Mediterranean Foundation for the Strategic Research, the leaders of the study group held a short presentation about how the Arab Spring and financial crisis have influenced relations between Mediterranean countries.
Later, Lt. Gen Şadi Ergüvenç, member of GPoT Center’s High Advisory Board, explained how recent developments in the Mediterranean region are perceived in Turkey. “The Barcelona Process and the dialogue and cooperation scheme of NATO are both intended to make the Mediterranean a basin of peace and stability. Despite all these good intentions and commitments it is far from being so, it is still highly turbulent and quite hot in several places,” said Lt. Gen Şadi Ergüvenç.
Underlying the importance of Turkey’s European orientation, Dr. Sylvia Tiryaki, the Deputy Director of GPoT Center, said: “To keep Turkey on the EU membership track is not only important for the consolidation of democracy in the country but for the stability of the entire region, too. Without its Western orientation, Turkey would partly lose its attractiveness in the eyes of Arab countries.”
The last speech of the roundtable discussion was delivered by Prof. Dr. Mensur Akgün, the Director of GPoT Center. Evaluating Turkish foreign policy, he concluded the following: “Turkey has to be selective in its responses. It has to rely more on political rather than military strategy.”
GPoT Center hopes that the meeting, and sincere exchange of views between the Turkish and French professionals, has contributed to the overall strengthening of relations between the two countries.