Diplomacy@Kent Co-Sponsors First Bi-Communal Conference on Cyprus held in Ankara in 50 years of Conflict
Diplomacy@Kent co-organised a flagship event on “Turkey and Cyprus: Regional Peace & Stability Conference” in Ankara. The event was hosted at Ankara’s leading think tank the International Strategic Research Organization (USAK) and co-organized with the Cyprus Academic Dialogue a bicommunal group aiming for a peace settlement in the divided island and the British Institute at Ankara. For the conference program and sponsors click here.
Photo above – The University of Kent research trip to the Turkish capital included a delegation of five. In the photo above from left Dr Loizides (co-organizer of the conference), Professor Feargal Cochrane (Director of the Conflict Analysis Research Centre co-sponsoring the event), his excellency Irish ambassador in Turkey Mr Brendan Ward, Mr John Mitsis (Kent alumni 2015), Mrs Natalia Piotrowska (PhD Candidate), his excellency Former Prime Minister of Greece and President of Socialist International, Mr George Papandreou (keynote speaker) and Mrs Muzaffer Kutlay (PhD Candidate and co-organizer of the event).
University of Kent participants attended an official cocktail reception on Friday evening 27th of February at the Australian Ambassador’s residence as well as a dinner reception sponsored by the British Ambassador on Saturday 28th. Both receptions were attended by members of the diplomatic and academic community in Ankara as well as media and non-governmental organizations. The main conference took place on the 28th of February and included two keynote speakers Mr George Papandreou, Former Prime Minister of Greece and President of Socialist International and Mr Hikmet Çetin Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey. In the morning session, the two distinguished statesmen shared their experience about the rapprochement process between Turkey and Greece. A discussion followed with questions focusing on Turkey’s accession process to the European Union and the need to resolve the Cyprus issue. Dr Neophytos Loizides from the School of Politics and International Relations moderated the discussion.
Photo above – Dr Neophytos Loizides (centre) from the University of Kent moderates the discussion between Mr George Papandreou (right), Former Prime Minister of Greece and President of Socialist International and Mr Hikmet Çetin (left) Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey.
Overall the event brought to Ankara seventeen academics and NGO leaders from both communities in Cyprus. Even more impressively, on the Ankara end it attracted ten ambassadors, 33 officers from 24 different embassies (including the U.S. Embassy and 15 EU member states as well as the EU Delegation in Ankara), 6 officers from Turkish state institutions (including 3 from Ministry of Foreign Affairs), 11 researchers from 9 think-tanks, 29 academics from 9 different universities and 10 reporters from 5 different media agents (including Reuters, France 24, Anadolu News Agency). It also included participants from the Turkish industrialist association and the country’s largest conglomerate Koç Holding. Diplomacy@Kent supports events which are critical in rallying political support for change at the national and inter-governmental level.
Kent faculty and students had the opportunity to present their research and participate in a roundtable discussion on new ideas for the Cyprus mediation with the participation of Cypriot and Turkish academics as well as foreign diplomats. The discussions focused on the prospects of reconciliation and stability in Cyprus and it was the first major bi-communal conference held in Ankara after fifty years of a conflict in the island. A press release was issued by Cyprus Academic Dialogue at the end of the conference:
Photo above – Professor Feargal Cochrane leads the discussion on New Perspectives on the Cyprus Question
University of Kent involvement builds on its expertise in the area of political institution-building within divided societies and the way in which power-sharing systems can contribute to the processes of conflict transformation and reconciliation in Cyprus and other divided societies. In addition to the “Turkey and Cyprus: Regional Peace & Stability Conference,” Kent participants visited the campus of the Middle East Technical University for meetings with faculty and students. Professor Feargal Cochrane gave a talk on “Transforming Violent Conflict through Political Institutions: Some Lessons from Northern Ireland.”
Photo above – Professor Feargal Cochrane discussing constitutional lessons from Northern Ireland at the METU campus.
The University of Kent funded these events through the School of Politics and International Relations’ Diplomacy@Kent Beacon project, the Faculty Internationalization fund, and a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship awarded to Dr Neophytos Loizides for 2014-5. The consortium of partners supporting the Cyprus Academic Dialogue conference included the Australian High Commission in Nicosia, the British and Australian Embassies in Ankara, the British Institute at Ankara (BIAA), and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Nicosia and Istanbul.
To view videos of the conference, click here.
Cyprus Mail (in English)–Ankara conference on Cyprus boost for civil society:
Hurriyet (in Turkish) —British Ambassador Richard Moore congratulates the organisers of Cyprus and Turkey: Regional Peace and Stability conference and calls for fresh ideas for the settlement of the Cyprus problem:
Interview of George Papandreou in Turkish Cypriot newspaper Havadis:
Today’s Zaman, Klaus Jurgens editorial on Cyprus Reunification: the Arab Spring and natural gas game changers:
See below for an op-ed by Dr Neophytos Loizides published Kathimerini (08/02/2015) in Greek with translation in English:
See below for an editorial by Dr Neophytos Loizides in Cyprus Mail:
Editorial in OpenDemocracy
Editorial in one of Turkey’s largest English language newspapers, Hurriyet
Editorial by Levent Koker in Zaman