Mediterranean Politics

Published by Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Print ISSN: 1362-9395
This article uses part of a case study made of Spanish companies with investments in Morocco that represent a relatively important part if total Spanish investments in that country. The behaviour of these companies and the factors determining their investments are analysed in the basis of the assumptions made in the eclectic theory put forward by Dunning. The results obtained from the study are found to be compatible with the said theory.
The article builds on the premise that the standard left-right division is not a meaningful characterization of Turkish politics. Political competition in Turkey in the present era is increasingly characterized by a contest between 'conservative globalists' and 'defensive nationalists' and the political environment is marked by the conspicuous absence of a European-style left-of-centre social democratic party. The article investigates the kinds of influences that enabled the Justice and Development Party to enlarge its electoral coalition in 2007 suggesting an even bigger swing of the pendulum towards conservative globalists compared to the situation in the previous election of 2002. It also tries to highlight the inherent weaknesses of conservative globalism and points towards the absence of effective and constructive opposition as a means of explaining the recent instability and re-polarization in Turkish politics which constitutes a major obstacle on the path to democratic consolidation
Following the abortive attempt by Britain and Spain to negotiate the joint sovereignty of Gibraltar in 2001-02, the incoming Spanish Government in 2004 proposed the establishment of a Forum of Dialogue, in which for the first time Gibraltar would take part as an independent third party. This Forum was designed to achieve cooperation across a number of issues, including the use of the airport, frontier traffic flows, pensions for former Spanish workers in Gibraltar and telecommunications, and by September 2006 proposed solutions were reached on all of them. The paper explores the Forum process and its achievements, but concludes that, given the fundamental differences in the ultimate objectives of the Forum participants and in particular Spain's sensitivity to Gibraltar's status, the agreements may only prove to be a means of managing the Gibraltar 'problem' rather than resolving it. Finally, the article considers whether the Forum model offers any lessons for other disputes in the region where sovereignty is contested.
The article seeks to place Turkish and Greek relations with the European Union in historical perspective. A certain dose of realism is introduced to the debate concerning the future of Greek-Turkish-EU relations following the initial wave of optimism generated by the Helsinki summit. The highly entrenched positions held by key actors in the domestic politics of the two Aegean countries constitute formidable barriers to progress. The asymmetry caused by Greece's early incorporation into the EU as a full member continues to pose a major obstacle to the resolution of long-standing tensions in such key spheres as the Aegean Sea and the Cyprus disputes.
On 21 May 2006, Greek Cypriots went to the polls to elect a new parliament. Held every five years, the elections for the 56-seat House of Representatives have relatively little importance in terms of governance inasmuch as the Republic of Cyprus operates under a presidential system. Nevertheless, they generate considerable attention and are strongly contested by the political parties. This is largely because they are seen to be an important test of support ahead of presidential elections, which normally follow less than two years later, and play a part in determining the relative weight of the parties in any subsequent coalition administration. On this occasion, despite efforts to widen the debate at the start of the campaign to include a range of domestic matters, the central topic of debate was the Cyprus Issue. However, rather than focus on ways in which to restart reunification talks, attention was instead centred on the 24 April 2004 referendum, in which a UN-sponsored agreement – the Annan Plan – was rejected by 76 per cent of Greek Cypriots. Indeed, such was the intensity of the debate over the issue that the polls ultimately came to be seen as tantamount to a second referendum.
There is a tendency in neo-liberal economics to consider the state and the private sector as one another's antitheses, as dichotomous and mutually exclusive. Moreover, the prevailing notion is that 'public is bad, private is good', meaning that the retreat of the one and the expansion of the other work together to provide the necessary conditions for economic growth. This article argues that this approach is not only obviously overly simplistic, but that it is not necessarily relevant in the context of the developing world. It will be argued that the state retains an economic role specific to regions where markets are less perfect and political structures unfavourable to a freely-functioning private sector. Indeed, it may even be appropriate to see the state and the private sector as ends of a sliding scale, with a significant area of overlap arising from specific historic, political, cultural and structural experiences. This is particularly true in the Arab Middle East and North Africa, where pre-colonial hitory, colonialism, Islam, patrimonialism, corporatism, and in some cases rentierism, have left a particular legacy in the form of economically reforming states that have nonetheless failed to surrender political power or economic hegemony. A brief survey of the particular historical experiences of state formation in three countries of the Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia), and of the resulting state-private sector dynamics will follow, illustrating the range of possible sources of explanation for scenarios that appear to defy neo-liberal logic.
Employing a Gramscian framework this analysis argues that economic liberalization in Tunisia under Zine El Abidine Ben Ali allowed for a deeper penetration of state power into society, introducing novel modes of control during a climate of economic uncertainty which, labelled an ‘economic miracle’, was to be defended at all costs. It examines two institutions central to the reform process – the Tunisian Solidarity Bank and the National Solidary Fund – making the argument that, by associating the ‘miracle’ discourse with a variety of pre-existing narratives, the regime ensured compliance, invalidated dissent and prolonged its repressive grip on power.
According to the Copenhagen School's Regional Security Complex Theory (RSCT), Turkey is an insulator state as it sits at the intersection of different security complexes without truly being part of any of them. This understanding of Turkey's position in the international security realm has offered a welcome contribution to the eternal debate about the country's security alignment between East and West. Turkey has, in recent years, become more active on the international stage, diversifying its relations and taking a more assertive stance regarding international security issues. This shift in its foreign and security policy is related to the country's ambition to become a great power in the near future. However, according to RSCT, it is quite improbable for there to be an insulator state that is also a great power. This article elaborates on the tension between this theory and Turkey's ambitions in an attempt to understand whether and how RSCT remains a useful theoretical framework for the understanding of Turkey's foreign and security relations.
Foreign assets of Arab countries before the crisis (2006)
Effects of the global financial crisis of the capital markets in the Arab countries
Relevance of different sources of external income for Arab countries (% of GDP; 2006)
IMF forecasts for economic development in Arab countries 2008-2010
Much has been written on the impact of the global financial crisis on Europe, Asia and the Americas but only little on the Arab states. This article makes an early attempt to take stock of recent developments in the Arab world and offers a systematic approach to disentangle the various inter-linkages and effects of the crisis on the region. It argues that most Arab countries might be lucky and get off lightly, especially the energy-importing Arab countries which have proved not to be very vulnerable because they are only weakly integrated into global trade and capital markets. The energy exporters have been hit by the decline in energy prices, but most of them have also mastered the crisis well thanks to substantial financial reserves. The situation is more critical however for Dubai, Iraq and Yemen.
The recent Turkish involvement in the Middle East constitutes an important test case for establishing the boundaries of regional power influence in a changing global context. The AKP government in Turkey has become a major supporter of political change and democratization in the era of the Arab revolutions. Accumulating empirical evidence suggests, however, that the highly assertive and pro-active foreign policy of the AKP government in recent years has not been effective in terms of facilitating reform or regime change in Syria or helping to influence the direction of political change in Egypt towards a durable pluralistic order. Indeed, the policy might have been counter-productive in terms of undermining Turkey’s image of a benign regional power, by drawing it to sectarian conflicts and over-engagement in the domestic politics of key Arab states. Turkey has the potential to play an important role model in the highly uncertain world of the Arab revolutions. Its ability to perform this role, however, requires an improvement in its own democratic credentials, rather than being excessively involved in the domestic politics of individual states.
Democracy assistance has increasingly featured in the foreign policy discourse of the European Union toward the Mediterranean. This article overviews three of its key aspects. First, it shows how the Mediterranean has become an area for democracy assistance. Second, it focuses on the implementation of the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), with a special emphasis on microprojects funded in the Mediterranean, showing the gaps between discourse and practice. Finally, the article briefly sketches the current format of the EIDHR, which covers 2007-13, questioning whether it represents an improvement. The overall goal is to offer a starting point to readers interested in the topic, by summarizing historical developments of democracy assistance in the EU, its legal framework and issues arising from its implementation in the Mediterranean.
This article examines the institution of the presidency in the Republic of Cyprus. Under the 1960 constitution, the president is both the head of state and the head of government and in this dual capacity wields considerable power. The position is also strengthened by the fact that the post of vice-president, the main check on presidential power, is currently in abeyance. At the same time, the president is also regarded by Greek Cypriots as the national leader, both in an historic cultural sense and in terms of handling the peace negotiations. This means that the office, which is vested with significant powers under the constitution, has also developed considerable political and moral authority. In overall terms, it is argued that the president of Cyprus exerts greater control over domestic political affairs than any other European Union (EU) leader.
Turkey's growing regional presence in the Middle East has been at the centre of several debates recently. This article approaches the debate on Turkey's foreign policy towards the Middle East from a Europeanization perspective. The article assesses the Europeanization of state capacity in relation to Turkey's foreign policy towards the Arab Middle East from 1999 to 2010. It is argued that Turkey's EU accession process has transformed the state, business and increased state capacity to implement Turkey's foreign policy towards the Middle East. This transformation enabled the Turkish government and business actors to improve Turkey's political and economic relations with the Arab Middle East.
This contribution analyses the set of conditions that made the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) possible, highlighting the change vis-à-vis the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP) and the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). First, it develops a conceptual framework for the analysis of the actors contributing or opposing the initiative, according to their attitude, motivation and resources invested in the process. Second, it examines the institutional logics that underpin the UfM. It suggests that the UfM was launched because a very small group cajoled an uninterested majority into yet another initiative for the Mediterranean. The outcome represents a shift away from regionalism as conceived in the EMP. At the same time, the Arab–Israeli conflict has politicized and disrupted the agenda of the UfM, as national interests have come to the fore and democracy and human rights have receded.
In trying to assess the causes behind Cyprus's request for a financial bailout, the paper takes a step back and reviews the economy of the island within a comparative political economy framework. With reference made to varieties of capitalism (VoC) literature, the paper sets a twofold target. Initially, by introducing Cyprus into the VoC literature, it attempts to underline the limitations of existing literature in allowing for a smooth categorization of Cyprus under the Mediterranean model of capitalism, and, subsequently, it seeks to explain the economy's near collapse, highlighting that Cyprus is not merely another piece of the sovereign debt crisis mosaic covering the European Southern periphery.
This book goes beyond the media presentation of the impact of Islam in the Middle East to consider the reality that lies behind it. The author considers the West's understanding of of the Islamic revival, the development of Islamic politics and the attempts of some Islamic intellectuals to modernize Islamic society. A feature of much of the recent writing has been a focus on the violent aspects of the Islamic phenomenon. This book presents the opportunity to look beyond these surface issues to the more fundamental and conceptual aspects of the Islamic revival. At the same time, it informs us more realistically about our current world and Islam's role within it.
An important component of Turkey's ‘pivotal regional power’ status was its non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council in 2009–11. By focusing on two cases – the 2010 flotilla incident and the Iranian nuclearization – this study examines (1) Turkey's regional and global leadership role at the UN Security Council and (2) how the ‘rhythmic diplomacy’ principle of Turkey's foreign policy is exercised internationally. This paper also demonstrates that Turkey's policy of cooperation with other pivotal states signals possible future alliances among rising middle powers that might challenge western preferences on important issues. This study is timely as Turkey is seeking, again, non-permanent membership in the Security Council for the 2015–16 term.
Tunisia adopted a progressive and democratic constitution, the most promising of the Arab Spring and perhaps in the modern history of the Middle East. As Tunisians well know, however, implementing the constitution will present daunting challenges. The new government and parliament, expected to be elected in the autumn, will have to quickly address pressing policy challenges: chiefly economic development and domestic security. The constitution creates a political system with many veto players with a thin line between consensus and deadlock. The winners and losers of the next elections must commit themselves to the success of the political process and not a specific electoral outcome in order to set positive precedents for the rule of law and the peaceful transfer of power.
The tense security environment produced by 9/11 and subsequent terrorist bombings in Madrid, London as well as in Arab states from Morocco to Jordan had an impact on the understanding of various actors about political Islam, but this did not automatically entail a convergence of views or solutions to existing dilemmas. This article examines examples of security discourse towards Islam at three levels: at the level of the national member state (in the case of the United Kingdom), at the level of the European Union (EU) and at the level of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP.) It highlights that while there has been a progressive securitization of political Islam at the national level within the UK, there is an absence of a coherent agenda on the part of the EU, and between the EU and the Arab Euro-Mediterranean partners there is increasing divergence towards security issues.
Starting with an empirical puzzle, i.e. the variation in minority-related change in Turkey across time, this article aims to uncover the conditions that promote or constrain domestic change and puts forward a comprehensive theoretical framework for external Europeanization. The article draws on current external Europeanization theories and suggests adopting the pull-and-push model of member state Europeanization in external Europeanization. It argues that domestic change – Turkey's minority policy change in the empirical case – depends on the combination and interaction of EU push and domestic pull factors.
The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) emerged in Egypt in the early twentieth century to resist secularism and political pluralism in favour of religious revival and a unitary Islamic state. After three decades of political participation culminating in its formation of a government in Egypt, the MB has prioritized electoral paths to power, while claiming to defend individual rights, popular majorities and a civil state. Nevertheless, the MB's discourse continues to straddle religious and secular terrain: in recent election campaigns, MB leaders promised to build an ‘Islamic state’ and a ‘caliphate’, all the while insisting that the people, not God are the source of all power. What explains these contradictions, and what do they tell us about the Brotherhood's apparent adoption of political and ideational pluralism and democratic values? The article contends that the MB's ambivalence about democracy is not a sign of dissimulation or lack of ideological evolution. Instead, it has its roots in a 30-year process of partially adapting to democratic and ‘secular’ political ideas by reframing them in religious terms which, however, resulted in creating what the article discusses as a hybrid ‘secularized’ Islamism. This hybridization has both enabled and constrained the Brothers' adaptation to democracy in the post-Mubarak period.
The EU accession process reveals a series of paradoxes, which are not merely indicative of the complexity of Turkey's state–religion relations in general but also point to how the Justice and Development Party (JDP) government portrays controversies such as the Sunni–Alevi divide. The religious cleavages in Turkey have become Europeanized and found expression in the European political and legal structures. The Alevis have been one of the groups most affected by this issue partly because of their heterodox and transnational religious identity and partly as a result of their links with secularist political sectors. The paper underlines a dilemma of current Turkish politics. The case of the Alevis shows that the regime's current transformation undermines its basis through exclusion. The JDP's political strategy, focusing on the effective control of the mainstream Sunni base, does not willingly accept or tolerate the autonomy of some civil society groups, including the Alevis.
The electoral results following the Arab Awakening have rewarded Islamist parties in Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco. Their arrival in power sparked once more intense scholarly and policy debates related to the relationship between Islamism, democracy and individual rights. This article examines that relationship in the context of the constitutional debates in Morocco and Tunisia, which have seen the prominent role of Islamist parties in attempting to shape the new constitutional charters. What emerges from this analysis is that, in the parties examined, pragmatism plays a greater role than fixed ideological positions.
Inspired by the on-going uprisings and revolutions across the Arab world, Palestinians used social media to call for mass protests throughout the Occupied Territory and their ‘host’ countries in the Arab world on 15 May 2011. Their underlying frustrations, however, have been of a different nature to those of their Arab brethren. The literature on the persistence of authoritarianism in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and the debates on transitions to democracy have failed to shed light on the emergence of the cleavage within the two main rival factions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and on the impact of the enduring Israeli occupation on the Palestinians' political identity. This article aims to fill in this gap.
Although the presence of the crucifix in public classrooms and other public offices is an ancient Italian tradition, it was never a political issue until recent times. In the early 2000s, some court cases and other events (first at the national and later also at the European level) turned the public display of the crucifix into a major issue in the national political debate. This article analyses the frames used by social and political actors in the different phases of this debate, in order to understand its evolution and its connection to the broader discussion on values in the public sphere developed in Italy in recent times.
Secularism and liberalism are often perceived as interlinked and associated with the process of modernization and liberal democracy. Yet recent studies of Israel cast doubts on this linkage as in spite of a rapid secularization of some parts of the public sphere anti-liberal and ethnocentric attitudes remain entrenched, encouraging some to call Israel a ‘non-liberal democracy’. This article seeks to explain these contradictions by, first, arguing that religion remains instrumental to the national discourse and to practices of demarcating boundaries and, second, that ethnic groups hold different perceptions of religion and attach different importance to religious rituals. Finally, secularization, as the Israeli case demonstrates, remains within the confines of a national discourse, differs between ethnic groups, and advances only with a limited commitment to religious freedom, to toleration associated with liberalism and, consequently, to a liberal democracy.
The conclusion looks at animal imagery in literature of the early twentieth century to see how this develops. It sums up the main argument of the book: that at a time of extraordinary social and economic crisis in the late nineteenth century, metaphors of travel were conjoined with images of physical transformation in texts whose genres, like their subjects, were being stretched. Many of the texts discussed in the book have entered popular consciousness but their economic and social references have largely been erased from the retellings of them.
One of the difficulties of studying European foreign policy is establishing what should be analysed as its domestic dimension. Intergovernmentalist accounts, focusing on the bargaining among member states’ executives, prevail over multi-level analyses which also study European institutions, non-governmental actors and sub-national governments. This article focuses on the formation of the EU position in the negotiations with Morocco for a fisheries agreement in 2000–01. In those negotiations, very specific fisheries interests prevailed over general foreign policy considerations in the relationship with a privileged EU partner. A multi-level analysis helps us understand how narrow interests succeed in gaining priority over strategic considerations in the formulation of European foreign policy.
Top-cited authors
Federica Bicchi
  • The London School of Economics and Political Science
Michelle Pace
  • Roskilde University
Andrea Teti
Reinoud Leenders
  • King's College London
Eugenio Cusumano
  • Leiden University