The latest Turkish–Greek détente: instrumentalist play for EU membership, or long‐term institutionalist cooperation?
Oğuzlu, H. T.
Cambridge Review of International Affairs
337 - 354
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The recent thaw in bilateral Greek–Turkish relations is promising, yet insufficient for future stability and cooperation in and around the Aegean Sea. The main reason lies in the prevalence of instrumental‐strategic thinking on the part of both states. Neither Greece nor Turkey has approached the settlement of their disputes from a perspective that would imply an eagerness to build a collective identity based on the institutional norms of European international society as represented by the European Union. On the contrary, Europeanisation has not been an end in itself but a means for the materialisation of their preconceived national interests. The underlying motivation behind their attempts to reach a solution appears to have arisen from instrumental concerns vis‐à‐vis both the EU and each other. The dynamics of their independent relations with the European Union seem to have compelled them to come to a modus vivendi over these issues, since otherwise their relative status vis‐à‐vis the EU would likely deteriorate. This article will discuss the main aspects of the latest Turkish–Greek cooperation process within the framework of rationalist instrumentalist and sociological institutionalist debate in international relations theory. It will be contended that a lasting and long‐term cooperation between the two countries can only follow the formation of collective identities and common national foreign policy interests, particularly as they relate to the European Union framework.