chapter  1
16 Pages

Back to the future

Institutionalist international relations theories and Greek–Turkish relations
WithBahar Rumelili

This chapter traces the interaction of the case of Greek–Turkish relations with International Relations (IR) theory. It discusses how Greek–Turkish relations from the early 1980s to 1999 have figured in the IR literature, first in the form of descriptions of respective nationalist positions, and later as an anomalous case that shows the potentially perverse effects of international institutions. The chapter explains how Greek–Turkish relations transitioned from an anomaly to a landmark case of the European Union's conflict resolution capacity following the 1999 Helsinki council decisions. It shows how the potential to use Greek–Turkish relations as a test case for rival institutionalist explanations was missed as the case fell into neglect in the absence of headline-gripping crises. The chapter discusses how current developments in Greek–Turkish relations can contribute to the further refinement of institutionalist theories by drawing insights from ontological security theory. Looking to the future, Greek–Turkish relations are likely to remain a prominent case study for institutionalist IR theories.