Scott Pegg
Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey

The De Facto State in International Society.

Place: Chateau Linza, Tirana, Albania
Date: July 12, 2000


The de facto state is a secessionist entity that receives popular support and has achieved sufficient capacity to provide governmental services to a given population in a defined territorial area, over which it maintains control for an extended period of time. This presentation examines the impact that de facto states have on international society and international law through a focus on four case studies: Eritrea before it won its independence from Ethiopia; the Republic of Somaliland; Tamil Eelam and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Taiwan is also considered in some detail to illustrate potential alternatives to the three conventional means of dealing with these entities. The relevance of the Taiwan model for the current situation in Kosovo is also examined. In contrast to the generally negative attitudes surrounding secessionist entities, the presentation concludes that the de facto state may indeed offer some positive benefits to international society.

(An updated version of the lecture is published in the journal of Southeast European Politics (SEEP), December 2000 available at

Biographical note:

Scott Pegg is an assistant professor in the Department of International Relations at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey. Dr. Pegg obtained his B.A. from the University of Richmond, Virginia; his M.Sc. from the London School of Economics and his Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia under the supervision of Kal Holsti. He is the author of International Society and the De Facto State and has recently published journal articles in The Washington Quarterly and Security Dialogue.

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