Cyprus and Europe: Geo-economics of a Relationship or Putting the “Periphery” into Context

Alper Arisoy


Mostly referred to as “crossroads”, “stepping stone” or an “outpost”, the island of Cyprus is characterized by some sui generis features that differentiate it from most of other insular settings in the Mediterranean. The most interesting of these features is the fact that this third biggest island of the Mediterranean is located at the center of a triangular area formed by the ancient centers – or cores – of the Mediterranean world, namely: Egypt, Mesopotamia and the Aegean basin. Despite this “central” position within the Eastern Mediterranean, the island seems to be “peripheral” with regard to each of these ancient centers, or core areas. A similar geo-economic relationship seems to be the case today with the “core” area of Europe. Departing from this background, the purpose of this paper is to assess the nature of the relationship between Cyprus and Europe, with particular respect to historical turning points and changing geo-economic settings, through which this relationship has evolved. Accordingly, the main questions to be addressed are as follows: is the core-periphery relationship between Cyprus and Europe different from the previous forms of peripherality of Cyprus? If so, in which respects? Drawing upon some basic concepts such as core-periphery dichotomy, insularity, isolation and connectivity, the main argument of the paper is as follows: while the core area of the Mediterranean – and eventually the world economy – shifted towards North-west Europe, the center of gravity of the island, towards which the geo-economic activities of the island tended, has also started to shift. The island has turned into a periphery of this new core. However, this shift brought about also a change in the pattern of peripherality. Accordingly, the island’s position with regard to Europe as its extension has been formed within the center- or core-periphery context, within which mostly political and strategic – rather than economic – concerns played part.

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Research in World Economy
ISSN 1923-3981(Print)ISSN 1923-399X(Online)


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