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Turkey’s Relations with Greece: Motives and Interests

  • Heinz Kramer

Abstract

To talk about motives and interests of a country’s foreign policy is, to a large extent, an exercise in speculation. This is due to the highly imprecise meaning of the two concepts, which are characterised by a lack of a clear, commonly accepted and operational definition. Nevertheless, ‘interest’ or ‘national interest’ is a prominent concept in the analysis of international relations or foreign policy.1 I will refrain, here, from another exercise in adding a further definition or categorisation to the already existing ones. Instead, I will content myself with a rough ‘working definition’ for the purpose of this presentation. If, in the following, I speak of ‘motives’ this is in the meaning of basic factors which guide the foreign policy behaviour, whereas ‘interests’ are more or less synonymous with ‘goals’. And, as both imply also non-material, psychologic factors or issues, it is also evident that sometimes (or even more than sometimes) the distinction between ‘motives’ and ‘interests’ is far from clear and in many cases arguable. But despite these obvious conceptual weaknesses, this may be one possible way to get a better understanding of the background of Turkey’s foreign policy towards Greece.

Keywords

Foreign Policy Security Policy National Interest National Integrity Territorial Integrity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    See, for instance, the article ‘National Interest’ by J. N. Rosenau, International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, vol. 11, pp. 34–40 or J. Rochester, ‘The Paradigm Debate in International Relations and its Implications for Foreign Policy Making: Toward a Redefinition of the “National Interest”’, Western Political Quarterly, vol. 31, no. 1 (1978), pp. 48–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. F. A. Sondermann, ‘The Concept of the National Interest’, Orbis vol. 21 (1977) pp. 121–38.Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    See G. Hering, ‘Ein historischer Überblick über den griechischtürkischen Konflikt’, a paper given at the conference, ‘Der griechischtürkische Konflikt’, Mühlheim/Ruhr, (1984) and N. Wenturis, ‘Die politische Kultur Griechenlands unter dem Aspekt des Konflikts mit der Türkei’, paper given at the same conference. See also the respective parts in K. Grothusen (ed.), Griechenland (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1980)Google Scholar
  4. K. Grothusen (ed.), Türkei (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1985).Google Scholar
  5. 3.
    This is indirectly confirmed by the fact that an effort to purge the respective national textbooks of distorted views of common historical events and of biased characteristics of the other country ranks prominently in the list of tasks set up in the ‘Davos Agreement’ between Papandreou and Ozal. For an account of the biased views in the media, see M. Dabag and Ch. Viallourides, Der griechisch-türkisch-zypriotische Konflikt als internationaler Modellkonflikt (Bochum: Ruhr Universität Bochum, 1985).Google Scholar
  6. 4.
    See for this M. Gonlubol, ‘Atatürk’s Foreign Policy: Goals and Principles’, in T. Feyzioglu (ed.), Atatürk’s Way (Istanbul: Otomarsan, 1982) pp. 255–302.Google Scholar
  7. 6.
    See for this period of modern Turkish history, F. Erkin, Les relations turcosoviétiques et la question des détroites (Ankara: Basnur Natbaasi, 1968)Google Scholar
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  9. 7.
    M. Heper, The State Tradition in Turkey (Beverley: Eothen Press, 1985).Google Scholar
  10. 9.
    The only exception to this is the political movement led by the ex-colonel Türkes which in the form of the Nationalist Action Party as one of the minor partners of Süleyman Demirel’s ‘National Front’ coalition governments exerted some influence on the Turkish politics during the 1970s. But this position always remained a minority one and could not really lead to a change of the bases of Turkey’s foreign policy. For the role of pan-Turkist ideas in Turkish policy, see J. Landau, Pan-Turkism in Turkey: A Study in Irredentism (London: C. Hurst, 1981)Google Scholar
  11. M. Agaogullari, ‘The Ultranationalist Right’, in I. Schick and E. Tonak (eds), Turkey in Transition (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987) pp. 177–217.Google Scholar
  12. 10.
    See F. Georgeon, ‘A la recherche d’une identité: le nationalisme Turc’, in A. Gokalp (ed.), La Turquie en transition: Disparités, identités, pouvoirs (Paris: Maisonneuve et Larose, 1986) pp. 125–53.Google Scholar
  13. 11.
    This has been very clearly demonstrated by the Turkish behaviour towards the Greek minority in Istanbul during the 1955 riots, the extradition of Greek citizens living in Turkey in 1964, which was accompanied by the famous Kararname Decree, and with respect to the fate of the Greek inhabitants of the islands of Imroz and Tenedos. In all cases the Turkish government did nothing against the ill-treatment of Turkish citizens of Greek origin but instead contributed to the development of situations that led to the exodus of the majority of the Greek population. For the 1955 events, see H. Bagci, Die türkische Au en politik während der Regierungszeit Menderes von 1950 bis 1960 (Bonn: doctoral dissertation, 1988) pp. 190–4Google Scholar
  14. 12.
    For this issue of Turkish politics, see Y. Inan ‘Aren’t There Any Turks in Western Thrace?’, Dis Politika-Foreign Policy, vol. 14, no. 1/2 (1988) pp. 77–88Google Scholar
  15. 14.
    This is the official Turkish line of reasoning but it should be noted that one could also argue that Turkish membership in one of the great power blocs which evolved after World War Two means a deviation from the Atatürkist approach which can be interpreted as a forerunner of non-alignment. For the first (official) view, see Gonlubol, ‘Atatürk’s Foreign Policy’, and Modern Turkey: Continuity and Change (Opladen: Leske & Budrich Verlag, 1984) pp. 115–30.Google Scholar
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  17. R. Poschl, Vom Neutralismus zur Blockpolitik: Hintergründe der Wende der türkischen Auβenpolitik nach Kemal Atatürk (Munich: Minerva, 1985).Google Scholar
  18. 16.
    For the domestic debate about the appropriateness of Turkey’s foreign policy conduct, see F. Ahmad Feroz, The Turkish Experiment in Democracy, 1950–1975 (London: C. Hurst, 1977) pp. 407–24Google Scholar
  19. M. Boll, ‘Turkey’s New National Security Concept: What it Means for NATO’, Orbis, vol. 23 (1979) no. 3, pp. 609–31Google Scholar
  20. D. Sezer, Turkey’s Security Policies, Adelphi Papers no. 164 (London: IISS, 1981).Google Scholar
  21. 17.
    This has been analysed for the Greece-Turkey-United States triangle by Th. Couloumbis, The United States, Greece and Turkey: The Troubled Triangle (New York: Praeger, 1983).Google Scholar
  22. 18.
    For a concise overview of the most recent developments in Greek-Turkish relations, which have become known under the label of the ‘Davos process’, see H. Laipson, Greek-Turkish Relations: Beginning of a New Era? (Washington, DC: CRS Report, 1988)Google Scholar
  23. A. H. Axt and H. Kramer (eds), Griechisch-türkische Beziehungen: Von der Konfrontation zur Annäherung? Die jüngste Entwicklung vor dem Hintergrund des Ägäiskonflikts (Ebenhausen: SWP, 1989).Google Scholar
  24. 19.
    The role of the ‘Greek factor’ in the context of Turkey’s application for EC membership is elaborated in more detail in H. Kramer, ‘The Greek-Turkish Dispute and its Implication for an Eventual Turkish Accession to the EC’, in Future Relations Between Turkey and the European Community, special supplement to ‘Türkische Wirtschaftswelt’ (Munich) vol. 4 (April 1988) no. 4, pp. 11–17 and H. Kramer, Die Europäische Gemeinschaft und die Türkei: Entwicklung, Probleme und Perspektiven einer schwierigen Partnerschaft (Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlag, 1988) pp. 265–281.Google Scholar

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© Dimitri Constas 1991

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  • Heinz Kramer

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