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  • I Europaiki Diastasi ton Ellinotourkikon Sxeseon sto Aigaio kai I Geopolitiki Stratigiki tis Dysis (The European dimension of Greek-Turkish relations in the Aegean and the geopolitical strategy of the West)
  • Prodromos Yannas (bio)
Gregory L. Tzanetos : I Europaiki Diastasi ton Ellinotourkikon Sxeseon sto Aigaio kai I Geopolitiki Stratigiki tis Dysis (The European dimension of Greek-Turkish relations in the Aegean and the geopolitical strategy of the West). Athens: I. Sideris, 2007. 607 pages. ISBN 978-960-08-0409-6. €30.14.

In the postwar era, Greece and Turkey sought to pursue similar foreign policy goals. In terms of security, both countries fell under the United States' security umbrella and became members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1952. In the politico-economic sphere, both countries adopted the Western path to modernization and sought to become members of the European Union. Greece in 1961 and Turkey in 1963 signed association agreements with the former European Community.

In pursuing the goal of European integration, Greece managed to be a step or two ahead of Turkey. Greece's entry as a full member in 1981 set the Europeanization process in motion and enhanced the country's bargaining power on a wide array of thematic issues, including defense and foreign policy matters. Being the first of the two to be admitted into the EU, Greece acquired diplomatic leverage vis-à-vis Turkey. Embarking on the road of becoming a full EU member, Turkey's leaders were aware of the twin challenge in terms of both fulfilling the economic and political criteria of membership and overcoming the stumbling blocks placed by their Greek counterparts.

Greece's position on the EU-Turkey relationship has gone through two distinct phases. In the first phase, spanning the period 1981 to 1999, Greece was lukewarm toward upgrading the state of EU-Turkish relations and pursued a conditionality policy linking any progress on the EU-Turkish front to the resolution of the Cyprus problem and settlement of Greek-Turkish disputes. A number of developments, including the eruption of the Aegean crisis over the islets of Imia in 1996 and progress being [End Page 126] made toward membership for Cyprus in the EU, shifted Greece's orientation toward the EU-Turkey relationship. The second phase was initiated in the 1999 Helsinki EU Council, where Greece granted its approval for Turkey's candidate status and opened the way for negotiations leading up to full membership. The Helsinki EU summit was a turning point regarding Greece's stance on EU-Turkish relations. From a lukewarm supporter who at times threatened to use its veto power with negative repercussions on EU-Turkish relations, Greece has since 1999 become a genuine supporter of Turkey's accession to the EU.

Gregory Tzanetos's book addresses the security dimension of EU-Turkish relations. He discusses the role Turkey occupies, as a member of NATO and a security partner of the EU, in Western geopolitical designs. Without a common European defense and security policy, European security is entrusted to NATO. The opening and concluding sections of the book discuss at some length the leading role of the United States in Western security conceptions. The fact that the United States has thrown its support behind Turkey's membership in the EU is an acknowledgment of the country's pivotal role in the Euro-Atlantic partnership. US officials also appreciate Turkey's security value beyond Europe in regions of vital importance to Western interests, such as the Middle East and Eurasia. In the last section of this volume, the author ventures to develop three hypothetical scenarios on how the shape of the transatlantic link between the United States and the EU is likely to impact the evolving EU-Turkish relations. In two of the scenarios the author contemplates, the "Euro-Atlantic" and the "Clash of the West with Islam" the author contemplates scenarios in which Turkey figures prominently in US geopolitical designs and, as a result, the United States would exert pressure on the EU to admit Turkey under special provisions and/or engage in a special relationship with the country. The third, "two pole" scenario visualizes a security system under the auspices of the United Nations...


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pp. 126-130
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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Archived 2019
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