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“Europeanization” of Greek – Turkish relations: Why the Greeks supported Ankara to become an EU member


Harmonious relations with Greece have become a target of Turkish foreign policy. The European Union’s conditional policy links progression in EU-Turkey relations with Ankara’s behavior towards its Western neighbor, which is the reason for this desire for reconciliation.

If showing quietness to the Greeks was the goal, the recent foreign minister meeting in Ankara was a failure for Turkey’s foreign policy. In an unusual way, Mevlut Cavusoglu and Nikos Dendias take part in a verbal boxing match, providing a group of viewers with an official, comprehensive and rare overview of the termite’s bitterness relationship between two old opponents.

Breaking down the unwritten tradition of bilateral diplomacy, ministers have shared insights into their dissonance in incredible detail and transparency. Abandoning the official Greek linguistic regime, whereby the only item on the agenda should be the delimitation of maritime borders, the Greek minister – and his Turkish colleague – refer to the full range of Controversial Greek-Turkish issue.

These include various aspects of the Aegea Aegean, the more recent conflict in the Eastern Mediterranean, treatment of respective minorities and last but not least, the Cyprus issue. , arguably the most controversial issue.

In the end, no lasting reconciliation between Greeks and Turks could be envisioned without the “native” resolution of all Greco-Turkish conflicts. After years of stalemate on the diplomatic front, the Republic of Cyprus’s informal talks in Geneva next week mark another attempt to reach a resolution for the divided island. This is the first meeting since 2017 when hopes for a high-level breakthrough after the election of Mustafa Akinci, a candid supporter of reunification, enter the presidency of Turkish Cypriot side. Today, this optimism is nowhere to be found.

“We will no longer waste time on a federal solution, while reiterating Ankara’s view that the” two-state solution “is the only realistic option,” said Cavusoglu. For the Greeks, both in Athens and Nicosia, the scenario of formalizing the division was a weakness: “The only possible solution would be to form an amphibian, amphibious union,” Dendias said in When speaking out the voice of a principal, it is more or less shared internationally. community.

Although details of the functioning of a united Cyprus are still sketchy and controversial, Washington, Moscow and Brussels rarely agree that the unification of the island nation should be maintained in all circumstances. scene.

“Expectations are pretty low, the two sides are quite far apart, more than ever,” said Kostas Ifantis, professor of International Relations at Panteion University in Athens. Professor Mustafa Aydin of Kadir Has University in Istanbul agrees: “The best case is if the Secretary-General (UN) announces that there are sufficient grounds to continue negotiations between the two communities.”

Among the many controversial issues surrounding the negotiations is the question of where the European Union fits. Turkey and Cyprus Turkey wants the EU to leave the EU: “It’s an alliance against us. Tahsin Ertugruloglu, North Korea’s top diplomat, says it has no place on the negotiating table.

Meanwhile, the Greek Cypriot side benefits from official EU business sharing and can be understood as supporting Europe’s active role: “We want EU representatives to be present. People wonder why Turkey does not accept the EU presence when they want to follow a European roadmap, ”said government spokesman Kyriakos Koushos.

Europe does not currently have a prominent role in the Cyprus negotiations. It goes without saying, however, that in the end, the EU will have to play a pivotal role as any settlement agreement needs to include the terms of the benefits (and obligations) of membership to be provided. issued to the Turkish Cypriot community.

Scenes of joint air exercises between Greece and the United States in the south of Crete. EPA-EFE / .GREEK NATIONAL FORCE

At this point, what might be called “Europeanization” of Greco-Turkish affairs – a strategy pursued by the Athenian government – emerged. Greece supports the Turkish accession process, ”said the Minister. “We believe that, as neighbors, both sides can benefit greatly from joining the European Union of a fully integrated Turkey into the European family.”

Considering Ankara’s diplomatic isolation in Europe and the growing choir of those opposed to Turkish membership, this Greek pledge is notable. Greece’s support for Ankara’s EU accession is by no means altruistic. It is spearheaded by consideration that a candidate member must accept and approve community achievement, the cumulative EU legislation and legal behavior.

Importantly, and this explains Greece’s preference for joining Turkey, the acquisitions include international treaties. “If Turkey wants to become a member of the European Union, which I hope, they will also accept UNCLOS, the Convention on the Law of the Sea,” Dendias said in Ankara.

The convention is well-suited in the Greco-Turkish context because it provides for a legally binding procedure for the resolution of maritime border disputes. Turkey is one of the few countries that have not ratified the convention thus blocking this path of conflict resolution.

It is still not clear whether the present – or the future – the government in Ankara is willing to enter into an international agreement that may not be conducive to Turkey’s maritime aspirations in exchange for a hypothetical offer of private equity. membership in the EU.

Perhaps, the more important question is whether the EU is willing to open the door to the Turks if Ankara is obliged to ratify the maritime convention, and in doing so, paves the way for a friendly deal with the Greeks. Greek.

Considering the political mood in Europe, this peaceful prospect seems highly unlikely.

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