Ever since December 1999, when Greece lifted its longstanding veto and Turkey became an EU candidate state, Greece and Turkey have attempted to overcome animosity and mistrust and resolve their perennial disputes. I argue that despite significant improvements at the level of economic, energy cooperation and minority rights, no breakthrough has been achieved on high-politics issues. The intractable Cyprus question has remained the biggest burden to any reconciliation attempt. Positive spillover of functional cooperation cannot by itself overcome the legacy of decades of acrimonious relations and accumulated disputes. Greece’s mounting economic and social crisis and Turkey’s new foreign policy activism can pose additional obstacles to the resolution of longstanding disputes, absent determined leadership on both sides. Only strong, visionary leadership on both sides can help overcome the pending stalemate.
Ioannis Grigoriadis is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Bilkent University (Ankara, Turkey) and Research Fellow at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP). He received his M.A. in International Affairs from the School of International & Public Affairs at Columbia University, and his Ph.D. in Politics from the School of Oriental & African Studies at the University of London. He specializes in European, Middle Eastern and comparative politics with a particular focus on energy politics, nationalism, and democratization. Among his publications are “Redefining the Nation: The Shifting Boundaries of the ‘Other’ in Greece and Turkey” (in Middle Eastern Studies, 2011), “Europe and the Impasse of Centre-Left Politics in Turkey: Lessons from the Greek Experience” ( in Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, 2010), Trials of Europeanization: Turkish Political Culture and the European Union (2009), “Friends No More?: The Rise of Anti-American Nationalism in Turkey” (in Middle East Journal, 2010), “Islam and Democratization in Turkey: Secularism and Trust in a Divided Society” (in Democratization, 2009), and “On the Europeanization of Minority Rights Protection: Comparing the Cases of Greece and Turkey” (in Mediterranean Politics, 2008)
Part of the 2011-12 lecture series on Greece and Turkey, sponsored by The Mediterranean Studies Forum and the Europe Center