Dialogue on Security in the Eastern Mediterranean

May 2017.

Athens, Greece

The Hollings Center supported a meeting of experts on Eastern Mediterranean[1] security, organized in Athens by the Center for International and European Studies at Kadir Has University, in May 2017. Participants included academics, researchers, and professionals of non-governmental organizations from Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel. The discussions in this workshop will be the basis of a policy report to be disseminated in these countries as well as in the US. Some key takeaways of the discussion were:

  • The state-society mismatch in many countries in the region is growing deeper;
  • People around the region are feeling that the state is absent, and therefore holding on to ethnic, religious, and tribal identities more strongly;
  • Existing conflicts, most notably the Sunni-Shia rift, have the potential to drag the region into full-fledged war;
  • Energy and resource cooperation has not proved to be a game changer;
  • The only way forward seems to be to increase the number of communication mechanisms (however ad hoc they may have to be) among otherwise uncommunicating actors, and through that, start to build a common vision for the region’s future.

[1] Eastern Mediterranean for the purposes of this workshop comprises of Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Cyprus, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, and Libya.


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