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Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bart Klem Delivered a Speech on Performing Sovereign Aspirations
Published Date: Tuesday, 8 November 2022
The seminar titled “Performing Sovereign Aspirations: Tamil insurgency and postwar transition in Sri Lanka” was organized with the collaborations of Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) Cyprus Policy Center (CPC) and Faculty of Business and Economics, Political Science and International Relations Department. The opening speech of the seminar was delivered by EMU Political Science and International Relations Department and EMU CPC Chair Prof. Dr. Ahmet Sözen. Following the speech, Prof. Dr. Sözen introduced guest speaker Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bart Klem to the participants. Being an associate professor in Peace and Development Studies at Gothenburg University in Sweden, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Klem commenced his speech by addressing the problems that arise in countries with shared sovereignty, such as Sri Lanka.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bart Klem emphasized that in cases of unresolved sovereignty friction, actors use terms such as so-called sovereignty or de facto sovereignty to resolve these issues. Explaining that there has been an ethnic nationalist struggle in Sri Lanka for decades, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bart Klem stated that a part of the society wanted a unitary state dominated by the majority of the Sinhalese people, while the Tamil people living in the northeast of the island aimed to establish a separate Tamil State under the name of the Tamil Eelam Liberation Tigers. Regarding the Sri Lanka case, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Klem argued that the way to face this dilemma is to adopt a performative perspective and mentioned that in the 1970s the Tamil movement used the different political and legal institutions of the state for purposes that were the opposite of what they should have been. Moreover, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Klem emphasized that in the 2000s, the Tamil Eelam Liberation Tigers imitated sovereignty, aimed at foreign domination, but failed in this regard. Finally, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Klem talked about the fact that the Tamil Eelam Liberation Tigers have been facing political schizophrenia since 2009 and they could not prevent their collapse.
Upon the questions that followed after his speech, which received great interest from the participants, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bart Klem talked about the lessons to be learned from the Tamil case and also about the parallels between the Tamil Case and the Cyprus case with moderation of Prof. Dr. Sözen.