Conference on “THE CONTINUED RAPPROCHEMENT BETWEEN GREECE AND TURKEY: (STILL) GENUINE OR STRATEGIC?"
Friday 28 May 2004
at Maplethorpe Conference Room, St Hugh’s College, University of Oxford
09:00-10:30 Session 1
Beyond Helsinki? Greece’s role in Turkey’s accession into the European Union
Following the Helsinki summit, Greece became one of the strongest supporters of Turkish accession, including by campaigning in the run up to the December 2004 Summit. How is Greece likely to be affected by the prospect of Turkish accession into the EU? In particular, how is the issue of size likely to play out when Turkey will be the biggest EU country and Greece in the small country camp? Are there genuine interests at stake here or is it simply convenient for Greece to have ceased to be the front-line EU objecting state? Conversely, how does Turkey perceive Greece’s role in its own path towards EU membership, as a friend or as a competitor?
10:30-11:00 Coffee break
11:00-12:30 Session 2
Atlanticists or Europeanists? Turkish-Greek partnership within NATO
In the wake of the Iraq war as well as in the context of the drafting of the new defence provisions in the EU Constitution, we will revisit the europeanist vs the atlanticist debate in a regional perspective. Where do Turkey and Greece stand today on this axis? Can Turkey still be considered a bulwark of NATO and a “reliable” US ally? What were its objections to the specifics of EU defence and how do these developments affect its atlanticist orientation? On the other hand, how has Greece’s continuous support for a more autonomous European security and defence policy affected its stance towards Turkey? How was this tension handled during Greece’s year-long EU defence presidency? How has this asymmetry between the two countries affected bilateral relations in view of developments in Iraq and the Middle East?
2:30-13:00: Buffet Lunch
13:00-14:15: Lunch discussion
Dealing with memory: shared history re-visited
How has the rapprochement affected the way the two sides deal with their shared history and memory? In the last years, Turkish and Greek academics have started to discuss and analyse these matters jointly. But has this led to a real change in the way the two peoples perceive and understand specific past events? Can the deep distrust towards each other’s reading of the past be alleviated? How has the contested nature of history affected the parameters and depth of the rapprochement? In this session, we will explore one “founding event” from the recent, or not so recent, past, namely the years 1922-1923. That moment of shared history holds very different meanings for each side: the Asia Minor catastophe vs the victory and establishment of the Turkish Republic. Focussing on the compulsory population exchange between Greece and Turkey, we will reflect on political memory and the role of histories and its effects on contemporary relations between these countries.
14:30-16:00 Session 3
Between High and Low Politics: Bilateral disputes or opportunities?
The Turkish-Greek rapprochement has been mostly based on low politics, bilateral discussions and cooperation. Since 1999, the two countries have identified areas of common interest in the fields of economy, trade, tourism, environment, culture, or combating crime and civil society groups have forged extensive links. But how clear is the distinction between low politics and high politics and how has progress in the former affected the latter? Some argue that it is mainly through deepening cooperation in the field of low politics that one can expect progress in the area of high politics. Others argue that unless the stakes stemming from high politics are raised and directly confronted with, rapprochement at the day-to-day level will be stalled. With a new government in Greece, an increasingly positive policy on the part of the Turkish government and the prospect of accession talks with the EU, is it the right time to raise issues like the territorial and aerial space in the Aegean?
European Studies Centre Annual Lecture in association with
the South Eastern European Studies Programme delivered by the
Prime Minister of Turkey Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan
The conference is open to the public. There is £25 registration fee, which also includes lunch and coffees. Attendance is free for students.
Further details on Programme and Conference speakers as well as access and venue for the European Studies Centre /SEESP Annual Lecture will follow.
To register, contact SEESP
South East European Studies Programme
European Studies Centre
St Antony's College
OXFORD OX2 6JF UK
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