The Greek Variable in EU-Turkish Relations

  • Alexander Kazamias


Since it became itself a member in 1981, Greece stood in Turkey’s gateway to the EU like Kafka’s enigmatic ‘door-keeper’. In the first nineteen years of its membership, it followed a largely obstructionist approach, seeking to either block or severely slow down Ankara’s path to Europe. Occasional departures from this norm, such as the ‘Davos’ rapprochement of 1988–93 or the acceptance of Turkey’s customs union with the EU in 1995, were so often overshadowed by vetoes and condemnations about Ankara’s ‘un-European’ behaviour1 that few would have perceived them as a foretaste of the policy to come. However, since the Helsinki European Council of 10–11 December 1999, Greece not only ceased to pose an obstacle on Turkey’s closer attachement to the EU, but began to champion the cause of its accession. There, after a new bilateral rapprochement, it abrogated its previous veto on Turkey’s nomination as an ‘EU candidate state’ and then demanded an early start of its accession talks with the Union. With these talks now under way since October 2005, it would appear that Greece, in a typical display of Kafkaesque absurdity, has stood in Turkey’s gateway to Europe for nearly two decades, waiting to guard its entry.


European Council Custom Union Incomplete Contract Stability Pact Accession Talk 
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© Alexander Kazamias 2006

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  • Alexander Kazamias

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