10 Pages

Greek–Turkish relations and conflict

A bird’s-eye view
ByAlexis Heraclides

This chapter traces the most common reasons for the Greek–Turkish rivalry that have appeared in the literature, in diplomacy and in the media, and looks at which of them still hold water as explanations for not burying the hatchet. The trajectory of Greek–Turkish relations poses challenges to the three major present-day international relations paradigms: realism, liberalism and constructivism. In autumn 1954 the Cyprus problem sounded the death knell to the cordial Greek–Turkish relations of the years 1930–1939 and 1945–1954 and continues to cast its ominous shadow upon all attempts at Greek–Turkish reconciliation. In the 1990s the dominant Turkish foreign policy dogma was founded on the ‘national security culture’ which envisaged Turkey as ‘a coercive regional power’ along ‘hard-line realism’. Whenever Greece or Turkey has been under a weak government, with a marginal majority or coalition government with nationalist parties, the government has had limited leeway to address divisive issues in a constructive manner.