Greek-Turkish Relations: Current Status and Opportunities to Reduce Confrontational Potential

  • Post category:Issue XXII

Oleksandr Demenko
PhD in Political Science, Associate Professor, State Institution “Institute of World History of the NAS of Ukraine”

DOI: 10.37837/2707-7683-2021-32

Abstract. The article examines Greek-Turkish relations, whose periodic aggravation is one of the pressing problems of modern international relations. The main reasons for the conflict in relations between Greece and Turkey are: the unresolved Cyprus problem; historical and civilisational contradictions; non-compliance with the rights of national minorities in both countries; the struggle for access to energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean; unresolved issues regarding the delimitation of territorial waters, the continental shelf, exclusive economic zones, and airspace in the Aegean Sea.
Analysis of the current stage in the development of Greek-Turkish relations allows us to make a conclusion about their instability and a high level of conflict potential, which is exacerbated by the irreconcilable positions of the parties on the key bilateral issues, historical prejudices, and domestic political factors. This has a negative impact on the security situation in the Eastern Mediterranean. At the same time, it is hoped that the political will of both countries, the resolute position of NATO, the EU, and the US on finding a mutually acceptable compromise and establishing dialogue, trust, and mutual tolerance between the two neighbouring states will eliminate the threat of a military conflict. The experience of dynamic cooperation between Greece and Turkey in the late 20th – early 21st centuries shows that the normalisation of relations between these countries is quite possible.
The reduction of confrontational potential will be facilitated by the following factors: renunciation of belligerent and offensive rhetoric and threats of the use of force; demilitarization of the Aegean basin; normalisation and development of Turkey’s relations with the European Union; strengthening of trade and economic relations between Greece and Turkey; search for opportunities to jointly produce and transport energy resources; cooperation in culture and tourism; efforts to reach a compromise in the settlement of the Cyprus problem.
Keywords: Greek-Turkish relations, conflict, Cyprus problem, ‘Aegean crisis’, Eastern Mediterranean.

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