This this crises while analyzing them, the second

This essay consists of the analysis of the
relations between Greece, Turkey, and NATO based on three case studies of three
crises between Greece and Turkey. The introduction consists of three paragraphs
and these paragraphs state the reasons of Turkey and Greece for joining the
North Atlantic Organization and the reasons of the Organization for deciding
the accession. The three paragraphs of the main body try to answer the
questions; the crises between Turks and Greeks almost ended in wars although
the NATO jurisdiction in the Aegean: How the Greek-Turkish crises in the Aegean
affected the Alliance?, How do two competitive allies in NATO challenge the
security interests of the Alliance through consecutive crisis challenges in
Cyprus?, How the NATO and the two NATO allies cope with the question of Syrian
refugees in the Aegean? The main body’s the first paragraph consist of the
narrative of the Aegean crises and the actions of NATO against this crises
while analyzing them, the second paragraph is the case study of the Cyprus
issue between Greece and Turkey and the actions of the NATO, the third and last
paragraph of the main body analyzes the most recent crisis between these two
countries and the North Atlantic organization, which is the refugee crisis in
the Aegean. The conclusion is the general analysis of the two countries and the
organization through their 65 years and suggestions of possible future
relations.

 

The first intervention of America in Greece
and Turkey was not planned ahead. America intervened in Greece to eliminate a
home-grown communist movement inside the country and intervened in Turkey in
order to implant continental ballistic missiles that were aimed at Soviet union
–which were later removed-.1
Two main reasons that motivated turkey to join NATO is, first the Soviet
interest on their land. The interests of the Soviet Union started right after
the Second World War and they suggested a revision of the Monteux convention of
1936. Their essential request was the revision of the parts that decided
passage through the Turkish Straits. The Soviet Union wanted to gain some basis
on the Turkish straits and then the plan was to expand their influence and to
annex some eastern areas from Turkish mainland and ultimately change the regime
of the Turkish state to communism. The second reason of turkey joining NATO was
the Cyprus problem. The state of agitation on the island caused worries among
the Turkish state thus, in a state of an internal war in Cyprus turkey needed
strong allies and eventually after joining NATO the invasion of 1974 did not
get any major protest from the big countries because basically turkey is a NATO
member state. These two reasons were enough for Turkey to want to join NATO
relations started with foreign aid under the name of Truman doctrine ended in
the alliance after turkey became a member in 19522.

 

Greece became a member of NATO on the same
day as Turkey in 1952. The reasons behind Greece for joining the North Atlantic
organization were the aims in their foreign policy, after receiving the help
from Truman doctrine to be more close to the west –America- and to protect
itself from the communist threat of the soviet union and the communist threat
that was forming in the country. Thus the main reason for Greece for joining
the organization is security3,
from turkey and the Soviet Union. If Greece was not a member state of NATO
probably the Aegean and the other crises would be solved much easily as Turkey
would have a lot of arms support than Greece.

 

When the cold war started between the
Soviet Union and America the geopolitical importance of turkey and Greece got attention
from both superpowers. The Soviet intentions on turkey were about gaining basis
on straits and expand their influence in the country. While Greece needed NATO
and the ideas of capitalism to eliminate the communism treat that was formed
inside the country. The proximity of the Greece and turkey to the Soviet Union
made them important allies for NATO. In 1959 NATO –America- started
implementing inter-continental ballistic missiles aimed at the targets in the
Soviet Union.4 Thus
in case, the cold war ends with actual fighting the United States would have
bases just on the South of the Soviet state. Greece and turkey are the NATO’s
defense mechanisms to the Middle East, Africa and most importantly Russia. So
as turkey and Greece joined for their security, the advantages for their
foreign relations and arms benefits, NATO had had a plan for itself when
allowing the accession of two states. The geopolitical importance of turkey and
Greece made them good allies for NATO and America who was fighting against the
ideology of communism and the regime of Soviet Union. The aim of the Soviet
Union was to expand the ideology of communism by gaining bases and followers in
South Eastern Europe.

 

The Aegean is the narrow sea between Greece
and east coastline of turkey, which is the longest border of two countries5
and, where the Greek islands are located. The Aegean has always been a hot spot
between two countries for causing crises. Two countries dispute over “border in
the air, continental shelf, and territorial sea, over the status of islands in
the Sea, and over the ownership of Aegean islets”6,
thus every part of the Aegean area could be a reason for crises. The Aegean
crises of 1976 and 1987 broke out because of the search for natural resources
in the area. Especially the 1987 crises started to dissolve only after Greece
canceled the permit of the American company that was going to do the drillings
in the area.7 The
exact borders of the area still have not been set. Greece argues that these
issues stated above as borders should be taken to the International court of
justice but Turkey argues that these issues should be sold through bilateral
talks.8
Moreover, the Imia crises of 1996 started after a Turkish ship was stranded on
the islet of Imia-Kardak and denied the help of a Greek ship arguing that the
islet he stranded was Turkish territory. The media of the two countries play a
really big role in the crises as they exaggerated the situation and the events
after. The crises caused note verbals from both countries and also a
mobilization call from Greece to its naval units in the area of the Aegean and
the “casus belli” treat of the turkey. The crises could be solved only after
the US intervention and the pressures from the American diplomats to take their
forces down and return to the “status quo ante”.9
After the crisis was finally dissolved the NATO Secretary General Javier Solana
proposed to the Greece and turkey to take confidence buildings measures. Both
countries agreed on some terms about military activity in the Aegean, to
respect each other’s sovereignty and the rights of each other to use the sea
and to respect each other’s airspace.10
The sovereignty was and still is an issue that both countries did not talk much
about as they both argue that they have sovereignty rights over the same islets
just like Imia/Kardak islets. In 1997 with the pressure from us secretary of
state madeleine Albright the foreign ministers of the both countries meet in
the NATO summit in Madrid and agreed on six principles of; “mutual commitment
to peace, security and the continuing development of good-neighborly
relations;” to “respect for each other’s sovereignty;” to “respect for the
principles of international law and international agreements;” to “respect for
each other’s legitimate vital interests and concerns in the Aegean; a
commitment to refrain from unilateral acts on the basis of mutual respect and a
willingness to avoid conflicts arising from misunderstanding;” and on “a
commitment to settle disputes by peaceful means based on mutual consent and
without use of force or threat of force.” 11

 

The biggest crisis between Greece and
Turkey is in the size of an island-Cyprus. From the time the British bought the
island disputes between the Turkish and Greek Cypriots started that was because
British started their policy of divide and rule in the island as they did on
all of its colonies. After British win the island over from the Ottoman empire
and made it an official colony the tense atmosphere in the island became even
worse and in the and two communities of the island that lived together in peace
for centuries started fighting after they gained their independence from the
British and established a sovereign state –republic of Cyprus. This republic
consisted of three guarantees Greece, turkey, and Britain. The “motherlands of
the two communities and the British. After violent fighting started on the
island, it had a negative effect on the not-so-good relations between Greece
and turkey. In 1974 when the Greek junta helped a coup d’état in the island and
invasion of the Turkey aftermath the eastern southern flank of NATO were once
at each other’s throats again. To protest the NATO’s lack of action after the
invasion of Cyprus Greece withdrew its forces from NATO and its military
command but it was no doubt that in a case of a world war the Greek would fight
in the name of NATO. ?n this period visits between Bulgaria and Greece were
taking place continuously and some interpreted this as contributing a plan
against the Turkish hegemonies that seemingly took over the area12
or to get a security insurance from the other neighbor of Greece if there will
be another Greek-Turkish war. It was feared that NATO’s lack of action would
drive both of the countries to cancel their membership of the NATO thus in 1958
NATO tried to take on a mediator role but this effort was not successful
regarding the relations between Greece and turkey. Archbishop Makarios, the
president of the Republic of Cyprus at the time requested a NATO interference
but in order for NATO to interfere or try to impose a solution on the issue
would mean to taking a side in this manner NATO choose to be neutral. NATO also
made an announcement to Greece and Cyprus that the article 5 of the Washington
treaty that states,13
“The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe
or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and
consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in
exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defense…”14,
would not be used for two member states that attacked each other but only
attacks from third parties.

 

Because of the recent refugee crises that
is generating from the war and conflict on NATO’s southern borders, is extended
to the level of human trafficking and criminal networks15
hundreds of Syrian refugees cross eastern Turkish border in order to gain a
life in the European country and fleeing with plastic boat to Greece or the
Greek island. The agreement between Turkey and the European Union stated that
turkey would give the refugees humanitarian conditions to live in with the help
from the European Union due to the massive population of refugees at the
European states’ borders. Most of the refugees were sent back to Turkey, where
they first started their journey to get to Europe and granted humanitarian
conditions by Turkey. However, refugees still pass the eastern border of turkey
illegally and find themselves a different life in the Greek islands or the
Greek mainland. Accusing Greece of breaking the agreement between the European
Union and turkey, ambassador of Netherlands to Greece Caspar Veldkamp states
that by giving them access to as many refugees as they can afford to travel to
the mainland, Greece is spoiling the refugee agreement.16
Moreover while crossing the sea between Greece and turkey the refugees have to
risk their lives as three thousand eight hindered people drowned while crossing
the sea in 2015.17
While NATO help was nowhere in sight.18
But in the first months of 2016 on the requests from Germany turkey and Greece
NATO decided to act upon the crises. NATO announced in February of 2016 that
they will be contributing to the international efforts to stop the illegal
human traffic and illegal migration from Turkey to Greece in the Aegean sea and
also contributing to the surveillance of the Turkish Syrian border and the
Aegean sea through NATO’s intelligence.19 Moreover, NATO also announced, “NATO will cooperate with the
European Union’s border management agency Frontex, in full compliance with
international law and the law of the sea.”20 On
their official website.

 

In the entire crisis between Greece and
turkey that I set above to analyze the behavior and aims of NATO, the Atlantic
organizations show a mediator behavior. These mediations or the hard warnings,
like in the case of announcing the article 5 of the Washington treaty to be
interpreted only for the third party attack could have prevented maybe one or
more Turkish-Greek wars. Two countries like Greece and turkey that shares
borders, which are not still clearly described because of the disputes about
the exact length, tend to have disputes now and then. But in the case of Greece
and Turkey, these disputes are extended when you add the Cyprus problem and the
minority issues between the two countries. However in 1933 turkey and Greece was
side to side defending their common border in Thrace from revisionist Bulgaria.
They both had worries about the Soviet interests on their lands and acted
accordingly to strengthen their ties to the west. “Thus, despite occasional
problems, in the early Cold War the immediate legacy of Greek–Turkish relations
was promising: no territorial disputes separated them; they both felt that they
were interdependent, and sought a strategic partnership vis-à-vis threats
coming from the Balkan hinterland and the Soviet Union.”21 That meant that even
though they are historical enemies, fought wars against each other and even
invaded each other’s soil the two countries have some common ground and
eventually be allies. “Greece and Turkey brushed close to armed hostilities numerous
times after joining NATO in 1952—over the Cyprus issue, over airspace, and over
territorial waters. Their membership in NATO may have helped prevent a fifth
Greek-Turkish war, but more likely it was the intervention of high-ranking US
diplomats and military officers that restrained itchy trigger fingers.”22 In 2010 Prime Minister –at the time- Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited
Greece, the first visit by a Turkish leader in six years. And the recent visit
which Erdogan, a Turkish president that visited Greece in 65 years, also did.
Relations improved a little, especially with regard to cutting defense spending
by two countries. The two also signed more than twenty bilateral agreements.
However, these improved relations do not guarantee Turkey or Greece act as allies
against each other if need be.

1 David Binder, “Greece, Turkey,
and NATO”, published on June 01, 2012,

Mediterranean Quarterly,
Mediterranean Affairs, Inc.

2 Mehmet Gönlübol, “NATO AND
TURKEY AN OVERALL APPRAISAL”, published on 1971, Ankara University Faculty
of Political Science

3″Greece and NATO: a long
lasting relationship”, https://www.NATO.int/docu/review/2012/Turkey-Greece/Greece-NATO-partnership/EN/index.htm

4 David Binder, “Greece, Turkey,
and NATO”, published on June 01, 2012,

Mediterranean Quarterly,
Mediterranean Affairs, Inc.

5 Carol Migdalovit, “Greece and
Turkey: Aegean Issues — Background and Recent Developments August”, published
on August 21, 1997, https://file.wikileaks.org/file/crs/97-799.pdf

6 Carol Migdalovit, “Greece and
Turkey: Aegean Issues — Background and Recent Developments August”, published
on August 21, 1997, https://file.wikileaks.org/file/crs/97-799.pdf

7 Alan Cowell, “Greeks and
Turks ease Aegean Crisis”, published on March 29, 1987, http://www.nytimes.com/1987/03/29/world/greeks-and-turks-ease-aegean-crisis.html

8 Stergios Arapoglou, “Dispute
in the Aegean Sea the Imia/Kardak Crisis”, published on April, 2002, http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a420639.pdf

9 Stergios Arapoglou, “Dispute
in the Aegean Sea the Imia/Kardak Crisis”, published on April, 2002, http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a420639.pdf

10 Carol Migdalovit, “Greece and
Turkey: Aegean Issues — Background and Recent Developments August”, published
on August 21, 1997, https://file.wikileaks.org/file/crs/97-799.pdf

11 Carol Migdalovit, “Greece and
Turkey: Aegean Issues — Background and Recent Developments August”, published
on August 21, 1997, https://file.wikileaks.org/file/crs/97-799.pdf

12 Evanthis
Hatzivassiliou,”Revisiting NATO’s stabilizing
role in south-eastern Europe: the Cold War experience and the longue durée”, Department
of History, University of Athens, Athens, Greece, published on October 17,
2012,

13 Evanthis
Hatzivassiliou,”Revisiting NATO’s stabilizing
role in south-eastern Europe: the Cold War experience and the longue durée”, Department
of History, University of Athens, Athens, Greece, published on October 17,
2012,

14 “The North Atlantic Treaty”,  https://www.NATO.int/cps/en/NATOhq/official_texts_17120.htm,
Washington D.C. published on April 4, 1949, last updated on March 21, 2016

15 “Assistance for the refugee
and migrant crisis in Europe”, https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_128746.htm?selectedLocale=uk,
last updated March 08, 2016

16 Yusuf Özkan,”Hollanda: Yunanistan mülteci anla?mas?n? sabote
ediyor”, http://www.bbc.com/turkce/haberler-dunya-42180679,
Lahey, Netherlands, published on November 30, 2017

17 The editorial board of NY Times, “NATO and Europe’s Refugee Crisis”,  https://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/16/opinion/international/NATO-and-europes-refugee-crisis.html,
published on February 16, 2016

18 Judy Dempsey, “NATO’s Absence
in the Refugee Crisis”, http://carnegieeurope.eu/strategiceurope/61710

19 “Assistance for the refugee
and migrant crisis in Europe”, https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_128746.htm?selectedLocale=uk,
last updated March 08, 2016

20 “Assistance for the refugee
and migrant crisis in Europe”, https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_128746.htm?selectedLocale=uk,
last updated March 08, 2016

21 Evanthis
Hatzivassiliou,”Revisiting NATO’s stabilizing
role in south-eastern Europe: the Cold War experience and the longue durée”, Department
of History, University of Athens, Athens, Greece, published on October 17, 2012

 

22 David Binder, “Greece,
Turkey, and NATO”, published on June 01, 2012,

Mediterranean Quarterly, Mediterranean
Affairs, Inc.

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