The seventeenth of Sigma Seminar Series was held on the 29th of February in Ankara. The main subject was “Energy, Geopolitics and Security within the Eastern Mediterranean Parenthesis”.
Mr Ahmet Dogan, founder and president, and Mr A. Necdet Pamir, founder member of Sigma Independent Research Society have organised the seminar with a focus on covering primarily technical feasibility and commercial viability, international maritime law and international agreements as well the security aspect in the region.
Although many politicians, bureaucrats and diplomats from around the World had commented on most aspects of the natural gas and oil reservoirs in the Mediterranean so far no realistic view was projected by petroleum engineers, reservoir managers and other relevant professionals who are the key experts in the filed. Mr Pamir has elaborated on technical and commercial issues of the alleged reserves of the eastern Mediterranean in his keynote speech and pointed out that apart from the Zohr natural gas field of Egypt neither the Leviathan, Calypso and Aphrodite fields nor the EastMed Pipeline are realistic or game-changers.
One of the speakers at the seminar was Dr Deniz Kutluk, is a graduate from the Turkish Naval Academy (electronics), with a Public Administration and Political Science Masters Degree from the Ankara University, an Associate Degree from Anatolian State University Department of Law, and a doctorate in Environmental Studies with a focus on oil pipelines, maritime pollution and urbanization. Dr Kutluk is a retired Rear Admiral who has served as the Director of Military Intelligence at the Turkish General Staff, the Director of Plans and Policies in the Navy Headquarters, Director of Cooperation and Regional Security at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels. His last position was the Head of Defence Procurement and Resource Management in the Turkish General Staff. He outlined the Turkish position in respect of maritime zones in the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas and challenges ahead in resolving the gridlock in a mutually amicable way.
Dr. Georgis Stavri, the Director of the Euro-Mediterranean Institute of Geoplotics, a Nicosia, Cyprus based think-tank has pointed out that the deadlock in Cyprus has become a lucrative industry. He recommended that the Turkish side could change the paradigm with innovative projects and creative approaches in foreign policy together with closer ties between civil societies.
Ms Melis Murat who joined the seminar from Moscow was accepted to Moscow State Institute of International Relations under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia (MGIMO) as the first and only Turkish student on Russian Presidential scholarship, in 2010. She graduated with Bachelors Degree in International Law, with a graduation thesis titled “The status of the Black Sea pipelines under the International law” in 2014. In 2016 graduated with Masters Degree in European Union Law, MGIMO University, Comprehensive studies of European and Eurasian Integration Processes department with a graduation thesis named “International terrorism in the system of threats to global security”. She has provided an insight into the potential strategic cooperation between Turkey and Russia in developing joint projects for the LNG market.
Prof Huseyin Bagci, a lecturer in the Middle Eastern Technical University in international relations, has presented the foreign policy shifts of the Erdogan administration over the years and the risks that this carries.
Mr Murat Yetkin, a prominent journalist who manages his own blog called Yetkin Report at www.yetkinreport.com moderated the questions and answers session when diplomats and other distinguished guests from the international community had the opportunity to ask a variety of questions to the panelists.