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CONFIDENCE BUILDING, NEGOTIATION AND ECONOMIC COOPERATION EFFORTS IN TURKISH-GREEK RELATIONS

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Fuat Aksu, "Confidence Building, Negotiation And Economic Cooperation Efforts In Turkish-Greek Relations (1990-2004)" Turkish Review of Balkan Studies, Annual 2004, ss. 31-109

CONFIDENCE BUILDING, NEGOTIATION AND ECONOMIC COOPERATION EFFORTS IN TURKISH-GREEK RELATIONS (1990-2004)

Fuat AKSU*

INTRODUCTION

There are a good number of publications covering the long-standing and problematic Turkish-Greek relations. However, studies focusing on the economic aspect of the relations between the two States are few. This is quite understandable since the conflict issues between the two countries have been considered within the framework of “national interests” and “security” concerns. Only during the recent years when confidence-building measures (CBMs) were brought to life and negotiation grounds were made to create negotiation grounds did the need for fostering economic relations prevail.

As a matter of fact, Turkey had long before suggested to build up the relations on economic basis rather than reverting to security issues and had started efforts in that direction since 1983. Namely, during the Prime Ministry of Turgut Özal, due to the negative impact of the then Turkish-Greek tension on Turkey’s foreign policy strategies, Turkey had concluded that Turkish- Greek relations had to be based on economic cooperation in priority. However, Turkey’s efforts in this respect were not taken into consideration by Greece and were in vain. As will be taken up in detail, later on in this study, Turkey has done her share in trying to build up relations on economic cooperation basis and create a sustainable security environment. Moreover, Turkey dared for attempts in this respect sometimes even staking domestic concerns, while Greece still carried on its septic and reluctant attitude. In a way, relations between Turkey and Greece adopted a “Cold War” like manner rather than a “détente” period, until the last quarter of 1980s.

As for the last quarter of 1990s, bilateral relations exhibited sound and solid developments, resulting in dialogue and negotiation. The initiation of “security and confidence building measures” proved the beginning of a genuine “détente” period in the relations. It was apparent that finally both parties had sensibly revised their comprehensions of “national interests” and “security” concerns.  In line with such developments, hopes for negotiation bloomed. Despite the improvements, the basic question encompassing this study still prevails:

To what extent the level of economic cooperation yields an impact over the unraveling of basic problematic relations and over the increase and the release of the persisting tension in Turkish-Greek relations? Putting it more clearly, will the improvement in economic relations contribute to the solution of numerous matters of conflict between them, ranging from “national sovereignty” to “vital interests”.[1]

Morrow, Siverson and Tabares all claim that among the states having discordant relations, one of the basic issues of conflict on foreign trade analysis is that; political relations between the states, might directly or indirectly influence their foreign trade relations.[2] According to these writers,

  • conflict and anticipation of conflict reduce trade flows between the states,
  • pairs of democratic states  will  trade more than  the other pairs of states,
  • a state will be reluctant to trade capacity with another state that may use its added wealth to increase military capacity against it.

Accordingly, it is drawn that political strife may force the states to delimit their foreign trade mutually, in cases when conflicts can turn into warfare. The economically stronger one might use this advantage as leverage or a deterrent factor over the other.[3] On the other hand a probable confrontation between the states may also lead them to delimit their trade mutually so that they can minimize the possible risks, likely to occur due to the interruption of specific trade (like energy supply) flow.

In this study, firstly, the general trend of relations between the two Countries will be focused on and secondly confidence-building attempts, their repercussions upon their relations will be taken up inclusively. Later on, how the consequences of the “détente” period effecting the trade relations will be studied. During the study of the relations between Turkey and Greece, emphasis will be given particularly on the development of economic relations and then the question of how can such progressive efforts step-up the foreign policy strategies of both States will be raised. As it is frequently iterated, will the improvement in economic relations contribute to the dissolving of enduring conflict issues between the Two? In the past of Turkish-Greek relations, one can hardly meet any case when an approach in economic relations has made an overall positive impact towards the healing of the general trend of the relations. This is because all conflict issues between them are directly relevant to the sovereignty rights and vital interests of both.[4] Consequently, it would not be wrong to conclude that the development in the economic and commercial relations between Turkey and Greece could only partly contribute to the unraveling of major conflict issues between them and not fully. In fact, the period after 1980 displays the same nature of their relations. During this period the threat conceptions were minimized mutually or at least stabilized, and a common ground based on confidence and security could be created, convenient for discussing and searching for ways of compromise and solution on conflict issues. During the first years of 2000s positive steps have been taken raising wishful expectations for the future. However, it is not yet definite how much distance is taken in the course of the dialogue and discussions in this context. It is a fact that the dialogue atmosphere is making a positive impact on two nations’ relations and the mutual understanding between them generally. Considering this fact, it can be concluded that economic relations and cooperation is being improved between Turkey and Greece to some extent.

THE GENERAL VIEW OF THE RELATIONS

Turkish-Greek relations gained a new dimension at the brink of 21st century. With consistent and different issues of conflict emerging starting with 1950s, the developments which created positive changes in their relations in the beginning of 2000s came as both sides broke enduring taboos in their traditional and rather negative approach towards each other. Turkish-Greek relations were customarily conceived as a chain of troublesome disputes by anyone having a slightest notion of the long lasting antagonism between them. Ever since 1950s, while topics of dispute between them constantly increased, all efforts of peace mediations failed. At every conflict situation, the usual steps were followed. Upon the emergence of a new dispute, both sides used to declare their own stance on the matter. The tension used to climb even more, whenever a similar case occurred in the past, and the tension would get closer and closer to confrontation. Diplomatic exchange of views, efforts of mediators, persuasive attempts of third parties all would fail. Finally the block leaders used to intervene when the two came to the brink of war. The tension used to be frozen and the issue was put aside, common declarations used to be announced by the third parties promoting the building of CBMs between the two and a reluctant dialogue process used to be started. This was the process applied at every conflict situation, yielding no solid result.

This repeated process at every dispute, which brought Turkey and Greece to the brink of war again and again. The failure of all diplomatic attempts and mediations, pointing at specific cases in order to persuade the other towards concessions, makes one think of a habitual systematic attitude they have both adopted in the course of time. In fact, the claim of a right suddenly used to turn into a matter of independence or clash of interests, no matter how innocent it could be. This fact can be easily observed in minority, Cyprus and Aegean issues where the kind of the dispute is an ignored detail, whether it is political, legal or technical.

Finally, during the 1990s, fundamental changes occurred on which Turkey and Greece could build up a genuine dialogue process in their relations. However, also during this stage new problems came up between the Two, in addition to the traditional ones.[5]

  • In 1994, the UN Law of the Sea was ratified by Greece and Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) immediately delivered all rights to the then government of Turkey, to take every action (including military), in case Greece attempted to enhance its territorial limits in the Aegean from 6 to 12 miles, depending upon the terms of the new UN Law of the Sea.
  • Relevant to the above case, when the Kardak Rocks crisis broke out in 1996, it gave rise to arguments on the statue of rocks and islets on the Aegean Sea and Turkey refused Gavdos to be included in the NATO maneuvers claiming that the final statue of the islets were not yet determined.
  • In 1997, Cyprus Greek Administration declared the launching of S-300 Russian missile systems on the island and upon the strict rejection of Turkey; they had to transport and store the missile system on the island of Crete.
  • In 1999 when the PKK leader A. Öcalan was given shelter at the Greek Embassy in Kenya-Nairobi, Greece’s connections with terrorist organizations were revealed to the world.

The fact that all these tensions did not turn into war is due to the interventions of allied relations of the two states and the mediation of the third actors.[6] Namely, Kardak Rocks crisis did not turn into war because of the USA’s mediation. Also, the EU Parliament declared on 15 February 1996 and Council of Ministers declared on 15 July 1996 that the borders of the EU ended up with Greece’s internationally recognized borders on the Aegean and called on Turkey to consider International Law.

As for 1997, when the sides were more cautious so as to not to give rise to tension which could interrupt the efforts to build up the dialogue process, we also noted the support of the third actors like the USA, NATO and the EU. Also in this context, during the Madrid NATO summit in July 1997, Madrid Declaration was concluded between Turkey and Greece, thanks to the efforts of the US Secretary General M. Albright, signed by Demirel and Simitis.

Following that step on 12 February 1998, Turkish Foreign Minister İsmail Cem proclaimed Turkey’s proposal to Greece.[7] In it, it was suggested that CBMs were to be put forth and common topics of possible cooperation to be determined and it was also stressed that cooperation on those issues had to be mutually promoted. In fact, the last phase of Turkish-Greek relations exhibits such reconciliatory efforts. In this context, the new era of relations will also considerably contribute to the conflict solution methods. For the time being, cooperation is started on topics to the common interest of both countries rather than on major conflict issues. Actually, similar attempts were also started formerly from time to time, but no considerable result was reached.[8] However, this time the conjuncture is quite different since there are a good number of expectant actors to benefit from this rapprochement. Consequently, if and whenever the sides try to hinder the dialogue process, they keep facing national and international pressure.

The Character of Turkish-Greek Relations in the Aftermath of 1990

Between 1990 and 2000 serious tensions broke up jeopardizing the “status quo”, the sustainability of interests and the balance of power between Turkey and Greece. The pressure exerted towards the two by the third parties during these tensions proved that the side effects of a possible war between the two would no doubt yield negative impacts both within and beyond their borders.

Regional clashes taking place in the Balkans and Middle East in the same span were no doubt adding to the strategic significance of both Turkey and Greece. If their relations could be relieved of tension, and normal contacts were formed, such improvement would create suitable ground for structural contemplations not only of the USA but also of the EU. Greece, being a member of the EU and Turkey being a candidate member of the EU, plus being a member of the European Council and NATO, meant the disputes could be carried into the EU.  This complex web of relations would create dilemma for the EU members, who would have to choose which side to side with in case of discord. In fact, during previous disputes between Turkey and Greece, third parties had intervened and forwarded support to one side and this brought only a temporary remedy to the issue rather than finding a permanent solution. For instance, as was observed during the Kardak Rocks crisis in 1996, the USA declared that it would decline any of the sides in case they reverted to military action and this was a real and major deterrent factor. The EU sided with Greece and stated that the case would be treated like a EU-Turkey issue and forced the sides for negotiation. In fact, the EU was taking a one sided stance to the problem. Nevertheless, the recent change in the international system has primarily provided means for both sides to revise and moderate their national drives and inspirations in their relations mutually. The military and political strategy of the Cold War era has been replaced with economical and political cooperation efforts, which have contributed to maintain and sustain stability in the relations. In this context the EU, SECI and the Stability Pact can be counted among the efficient attempts founded to build up regional cooperation and solidarity based on strong foundations, to reach structural dimensions.

The probability of the disputes between Turkey and Greece spilling over into the EU is irritating the Union as much as Turkey and Greece. It is a normal concern that the EU members can be troubled, fearing that the problems which the two might carry to the Union could create differences of opinion and harm the ongoing course, harmony and procedures in its body. On the other hand, this situation might also give rise to difference of strategies or policies between the other members who take sides either with Turkey or Greece. Upon Turkey’s determination to be a full member to the EU, Greece has chosen to go to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for the solution of conflict issues.

Upon the declaration of Turkey’s candidate membership to the EU at the Helsinki Summit in December 1999, Greece showed good intentions to solve the topics of dispute through methods proposed by the EU. However, Greece also started declaring that they did not disregard other peace seeking attempts (such as dialogue and debate) within the negotiation process. These were all signs of a significant policy change and similar comments were also made by Turkey, favoring reconciliation efforts and bilateral negotiations. However, Turkey also expressed that ICJ could be the final authority to be consulted for the solution of conflict issues. Before the Helsinki Summit Turkey had already iterated that the remaining points of disagreement could be taken to the ICJ, after all other points were settled through dialogue. Nevertheless this commitment was written confirmed by Turkey during the Helsinki Summit which drew Greece towards dialogue and Turkey towards the ICJ alternative.[9]

In fact, the last quarter of 1990s comprised a turning point to Turkish-Greek relations. Although a series of tensions were faced in a short period, a dialogue and “detente” process was initiated. While on one hand the CBMs were brought to life, on the other, alternative solutions could be brought up and basic conflict issues was started to be discussed. The EU was considered a suitable ground to facilitate such attempts. Turkey and Greece tried to work out their problems in line with conditions which the EU imposed them. In the mean time, the earthquakes which struck Turkey and Greece one after another proved that the two nations still carried peace initiatives towards each other and thanks to the media in both countries, the politicians were drawn towards peaceful solutions and to abide with the dialogue process.

The Simitis Government’s determination to improve relations with Turkey was a strategic choice and this choice brought together the following advantages:

       From the aspect of domestic policy gains, dialogue with Turkey has been an eminent factor for Simitis Government to increase their support in the public opinion.

       Similarly Simitis, during his leadership struggle with A. Papandreou in PASOK, fortified his position among his political rivals and also could manage to hold back the reaction of fanatic Turkey reprobates.[10]

       Greece entered the EU common currency unit (ECU), which eased its stability efforts for sustaining economic development. The initiation of the dialogue process helped Greece to adopt a stronger stance against criticisms from the EU/USA axis particularly on terrorism issues.[11]

       Suitable background is formed to delimit its costly defense budget that was putting over weight on the general budget, to cover up the precautions (like excessive armament) needed in case of a threat from their neighbor Turkey.

On the other hand, Turkey made use of the sad but also sympathetic atmosphere created by the earthquakes and could persuade Greece towards dialogue. During the Öcalan crisis, it was apparent that Greece had relevance with the issue and eventually Greece was included in the list of countries supporting terrorism.[12] Finally, Simitis due to the government’s push and Turkey’s wish, plus the international public opinion’s pressure, declared that they were ready for dialogue with Turkey.

From another angle, in Greece, the government in power might be heading to sustain political stability through dissolving the conflict issues between Turkey and Greece, which serves within the Greek government’s framework of national/international interests. In the mean time, Greece needed to get rid of the enmity against Turkey, which was totally binding itself in domestic and foreign policy movements. Moreover, this enmity process had begun to delimit Greece’s relations with the third countries too.[13]

Greece’s negative attitude towards Turkey’s access to the EU, showed in actions such as vetoing financial aid packages for Turkey, gave Greece an image of a trouble-maker member.[14] On the other hand, USA’s building stronger ties (with proper timing) towards Turkey when whenever the country is rejected by the EU also created a perception that the USA was siding with Turkey against Greece. The USA increased its pressure towards Greece in this respect.[15] The pressure regarded Greece’s policy in the Balkans also. It began to be discussed after Greece’s negative identity was taken up by NATO circles too. As from the economic dimension, Greece’s efforts for entering the European common currency union, led Greece to remove its veto on Turkey’s candidacy to the EU.

TURKEY’S APPLICATION FOR FULL MEMBERSHIP TO THE EU: HELSINKI SUMMIT

While on one hand Greece was frequently mentioning in formal declarations that they did not reject Turkey’s full membership to the EU, on the other hand whenever realization of the same issue was discussed, they suggested that structural features of Turkey did not fit into the EU criteria, and they tended to link the possibility of membership, to the developments in line with the EU criteria. In fact, this attitude was repeated by Greek authorities during the Helsinki Summit on 10-11 December 1999 and it was precariously considered whether Greece’s veto could be avoided or not. However, Greek veto was avoided after the views of both countries could be dissolved on a common ground.  Shortly before the summit, the Greek Foreign Minister G. Papandreou had said: “Almost everyone accepts Turkey’s candidacy, but Turkey is extremely eager. Our dialogue with Turkey on the EU has reached to the final step. Whatever the result of the Helsinki Summit will be, we should enhance with friendly cooperation in a way that will be to the mutual benefit of both nations…

Turkey is bound to maintain the required standards of the EU. Until this moment, we could not settle on our problems. However if Turkey is granted the candidacy position we shall be pleased with it. EU membership is a good chance for Turkey as well as bearing a reform character. I hope a positive result can be reached at the Helsinki Summit. If Turkey becomes a candidate, they will have to conform to the Copenhagen Criteria on Cyprus and Aegean issues.”[16] Turkish Foreign Minister also made a speech in the following contents before the summit: “Incase the EU refuses Turkey and divides Aegean into two, it will potentially create a controversy between Turkey and Greece. Therefore, while reaching a decision, the EU should consider this. We do not expect extra sympathy from anyone, we only expect that the same conditions asked from others to go for us too. It is included in the Agenda 2000 of the EU that we will have to conform to the same conditions. But if different reservations are put and extra conditions are required, just for Turkey’s candidacy, this cannot be acceptable.”[17]

These declarations made before the Summit raised hopes for grounds for negotiation, and it was expected that Greece would not forward its veto. In fact, on 10-11 December, when discussions focused on problems between Turkey and Greece, such topics were tried to be pacified and it was concluded on Turkey’s candidacy. In the concluding document, it was indicated that Turkey and Greece should resolve the disputes among them until 2004, as it was already included in the Agenda 2000 document. In case they cannot reach to a consensus by then, the issues would be taken up at the European Council the same year. However, this timing gave rise to different interpretations.[18] Greece remarked that 2004 is the deadline for the conflict issues to be taken to the ICJ, In this context Simitis said: “We wish to settle the continental shelf issue with Turkey and I do not think that other disputes will come up in the course of time, but if it does we can consider those also. There is quite a long time until 2004 and we expect to take positive steps until then. If there are still points of dispute in 2004, then we can consult to ICJ.”[19]

Turkish Foreign Minister Cem also made comments in the same context: “the 2004 is not the deadline to go to the ICJ but a time when the EU will review the case. The EU has put this clearly and formally. We repeated many times that we would take the conflict points to the ICJ, after all negotiation ways are tried. We have always chosen to solve the disputes through discussion and negotiation. The text also considers the possibility of discussion.”[20]

The Agenda 2000 document, concluded in July 1997, denotes all procedures in line with the EU enlargement process, includes articles referring to border disputes, which all candidates have to settle before their full access into the EU. According to the said text: “Enlargement  does not mean the border disputes will be transferred to the EU. Enlargement efforts are expected to create positive and empowering drives for the states to settle their border disputes. Some states which applied for candidacy still have disputes between them or with the third countries on various issues. The Commission requires that the states should settle all major border conflicts between them or with the third countries. This acquires priority before adaptation. On the contrary, the sides should agree to take their dispute to the ICJ.

… All countries should confirm in advance that in case such a dispute is faced in the future, they will be ready to accept the compulsory judgment authority of the ICJ, pre-conditionally.”[21]

Considered in this context, Agenda 2000 requires that Turkey settle all its disputes with Greece and in case of arbitration, accepts unconditionally the power and the authority of ICJ and will act in accordance with the verdict of the Court. While the EU membership is in question, the prevailing conflict issues between Turkey and Greece are; Aegean issues, particularly continental shelf, drawing back of Turkish troops from Cyprus and Turkey’s rejection for Cyprus being a full member to the EU.[22]  During his visit to Turkey on 20 January 2000, G. Papandreou made statements about Cyprus, meaning that the full membership of (Northern) Cyprus to the EU, will occur before Turkey.[23] Moreover Papandreou remarked: “The membership of (Northern) Cyprus will be advantageous for Turkey”, “Turkish Cypriots will be represented in the EU, Turkish will be an official language of the Union, and Turkey will gain familiarity in the Union, and this will serve like a side road on the way to its access.”[24] Turkey had already declared that in the core that she did not object to the ICJ alternative. In the opinion of Turkey, the sides should start the negotiation process, before that stage, first they should find out precisely on what points they cannot reach a consensus, whether these problems exist in reality and if so the essence and the nature of the problem and then take those items to the ICJ.  In fact, Greece is delimiting the conflict issues to continental shelf only, and calls it as the only matter to be taken to ICJ. However, Turkey, apart from the continental shelf, considers the problems in the Aegean as; expansion of territorial waters, limits of FIR regions, militarization of the islands and the undetermined statue of the islets and rocks.

When taken up from another point of view, whether the conflict matters can be settled in the foreseen time span or not, this is closely relevant to the attitude of the sides on the ICJ issue and the future and the success of the Common Defense and Foreign Policy that the EU is trying to build up. It should be noted that the decision of the European Parliament backing Greece during the Kardak Rocks crisis of 1996, gives an idea as to the direction of their choice in case of a controversy between Turkey and Greece. Similarly, Northern Cyprus being accepted as representing the whole island and its access into the EU as the only Cyprus identity is another hint of the same backing.   Consequently, this means the EU has started taking sides in the Turkish-Greek conflict.[25] This attitude leads us to think that Greece preserves it weight on the EU and raises the suspicion that the EU will continue with a similar approach.[26]

CONFIDENCE BUILDING MEASURES AND TURKISH-GREEK RELATIONS[27]

The efforts for conflict solution between Turkey and Greece should be taken up in two separate pre-studies. First is to take measures to avoid escalation of the problems so that mutual confidence can increase. The other is activity where common interests emerge before focusing on major conflict issues. Within a process were disputes turn into hot-confrontation and diplomatic attempts fail, the sides incline towards “de facto” solutions which increase the risk of clashes. To avoid such an undesired situation, priority is now given to building up the relations on mutual confidence basis, rather than beginning with the permanent and satisfactory solution of the major problems. This order of dealing with the issues creates the necessary confidence-building atmosphere.

The legal and/or the political nature of the conflict issues, as well as their military/security dimension, indicates to the sides which strategy and tactics to be chosen plus the stance to be taken. Particularly, if the sides fail to find diplomatic solutions and revert to de-facto solutions, causing the tension to climb, there will be an increased the risk of war, and the sides could get used to conflict situations.[28] From this angle, the Athens and Istanbul Agreements served as “confidence building measures”, arranging the common efforts to avoid conflicts becoming clashes. The Madrid Declaration also constitutes a vital phase of this process and sets up “CBMs”.

The Decade of 1980-1990

The efforts to resolve Turkish-Greek conflict issues through negotiations and efforts to avoid interventions which can cause tensions to climb during de facto situations have always been on the agenda.[29] Efforts to avoid tensions turning to hot confrontation have been supported by the allies of both Turkey and Greece as well as international organizations. However, the decade between 1980 and 1990 was a time when the negotiation process was interrupted, tension increased and hot-confrontation prevailed. In this decade the PASOK government under the leadership of A. Papandreou, was rather reluctant on dialogue and iterated frequently that threat against the territorial integrity of Greece came from Turkey. No doubt, such a discourse clogged the roads to dialogue. In 1987 when tensions were faced on the continental shelf issue, CBMs came to fore again. After 1983, Prime Minister Turgut Özal insisted on building up the relations on economic cooperation so that mutual confidence could be maintained.[30] In his opinion political problems were impeding the chances of cooperation between the two. If economic cooperation could be improved, that would impress the public opinion of the two nations and consequently would moderate the approach of politicians too. He strongly believed that this alternative had to be tried.[31]

However, the dialogue process could be started only after the continental shelf conflict in 1987. On 30-31 January 1988, the Prime Ministers of Turkey and Greece came together in Davos Summit, where they both tried to seem willing for starting the dialogue process though the meeting took place soon after the tension. It was observed that the Turkish side was more willing to start the dialogue process. In this context the Decree of 1964[32] was annulled on 5 February 1988 and on 9 February 1988 a Greek representative arrived in Turkey to participate the “Land Transport Commission Meeting” after five years from the last visit of Greece to Turkey. Before Prime Minister Özal’s visit to Athens on 29-31 May, it was decided that within June, the “Political Commission” formed to discuss the problems between Turkey and Greece, would hold its first meeting in Athens and the other Commission, assigned to promote trade, economy and tourism was going to convene in Ankara.[33] Although the Davos Summit restarted the dialogue process, it took time for the relations to improve. The fruits of the process started to ripen only in 1999 and 2000. During the Economic Commission meeting held on 24-26 May, 1988, the sides concluded on the initiation of negotiation topics like; economic, industrial, technical and scientific cooperation, avoiding double taxation, mutual promotion and preservation of investments. The Commission also considered improving land, air and railway transport as well as the implementation of communication systems between them. In addition to these issues the Commission also agreed on fostering and improving cooperation on agriculture, trade and industry plus health, tourism and environment issues.[34] As for the workability of decisions taken by the Economic Committee, this was greatly tied to the success of the Political Committee meeting to be held in Athens with the presence of T. Özal, during his visit to Athens on 13-14 June 1988. The Political Committee’s decisions have been a vital step to lessen the risks of hot- confrontation after 1984 and 1987 continental shelf crises.

Athens and Istanbul Agreements

It is remarkable that priority is given to CBMs to abolish the threat perceptions that damage the relations every now and then. For the dialogue process to be restarted, the sides, on 27 May 1988, under the signatures of Mesut Yılmaz and Papulias have concluded on the following items:

“The two parties have agreed on the following confidence building measures:

       Both parties recognise the obligation to respect the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of each other and their rights to use the high seas and international airspace of the Aegean.  

       In conducting national military activities in the high seas and the international airspace, the two parties shall endeavour to avoid interfering with smooth shipping and air-traffic as ensured in accordance with international instruments, rules and regulations. This would contribute to the elimination of unwarranted sources of tension and reduce the risks of collision. 

       The two parties have agreed that the planning and the conduct of national military exercises in the high seas and the international airspace which require the promulgation of a NOTAM or any other notification or warning should be carried out in such a way as to avoid also to the maximum extent possible the following:

  1. The isolation of certain areas
  2. The blocking of exercise areas for long periods of time
  3. Their conduct during the tourist peak period (1 July-1 September) and main national and religious holidays.

It is understood that the planning and execution of all national military activities will be carried out in accordance with the existing international rules, regulations and procedures.

With a view of achieving the above, and without prejudice to the existing international regulations and procedures, the two sides will proceed, when required, to due communication through diplomatic channels.

The provisions of the memorandum of understanding shall have effect and be implemented in full conformity with the provisions of the Davos joint press communiqué.”[35]

Following Prime Minister T. Özal’s visit to Athens, the Istanbul Agreement was signed on September 8, 1988. According to this agreement: 

“1.      The military and other activities carried out by the ships and aircraft of both countries on the high seas and international airspace will be conducted in accordance with international law and international custom, instruments, rules, regulations and procedures.

  1. In accordance with the above:
  2. The naval units of the parties will abide by the following guidelines:

       They will refrain from acts of harassment of each other while operating in the high seas in accordance with international law and custom.

       They will act in full conformity with international law, rules, regulations, and procedures as well as military custom and courtesy.   

       Naval units engaged in the surveillance of ships of the other party during firing operations and other military activities in accordance with international law, instruments, rules, regulations and procedures shall maintain a position which will not hamper their smooth conduct.

  1. The air force units in conducting military activities in the international airspace will abide by the following guidelines:

       They will act in full conformity with international law and in particular international custom, instruments, rules, regulations and procedures.

       Pilots of aircraft of the parties shall display utmost caution when in proximity of aircraft of the other party and shall not manoeuvre or react in a manner that would be hazardous to the safety of the flight and/or affect the conduct of the mission of the aircraft.

  1. To promote the climate of confidence, whenever there are claims of acts contrary to the above, the sides will in the first place inform each other through diplomatic channels prior to releasing official statements.”[36]

Despite all these measures, claims of air space violations persisted on both sides. Consequently, the break out of further tensions in 1994 and 1996 proved that the confidential ground the parties had tried to build up was still unsettled and shaky.

Madrid Declaration

The Madrid Declaration announced after the Kardak Rocks crisis in 1996 had been efficient to bolster the “status quo” needed for a relationship to be built on confidence basis. With the Madrid Declaration of 8 July 1997, the Parties agreed to  pursue efforts to promote bilateral relations based upon:

“-Mutual commitment to peace, security, and the continuing development of good neighbourly relations;

-Respect for each other’s sovereignty;

-Respect for the principles of international law and international agreements;

- Respect for each other’s legitimate, vital interests and concerns in the Aegean, which are of  great importance for each country’s security and sovereignty rights;

-Commitment to refrain from unilateral acts on the basis of mutual respect and willigness to avoid conflicts arising from misunderstanding; and

-Commitment to settle disputes by peaceful means based on mutual consent and without use of force or threat of force.”[37]

The most significant aspect of the Declaration[38] was that it banned Greece from taking unilateral action and Turkey from exerting military force as a threatening element.

This commitment brought up arguments in Turkey as to whether there was a deliberate change in the basic understanding of the sides, particularly on the point that if Greece extended its territorial limits to 12 miles in the Aegean, this would be considered as “casus belli”.[39] Another approach towards “confidence building measures” was the Foreign Minister M. Yılmaz’s package of suggestions on 12 February 1998.[40] He suggested that Parties defined their problems together, that  the Madrid Declaration evolve into a formal agreement, CBMs to be improved and activated in the Aegean, and the Wise Men Group from Turkey and Greece to be assigned for discussing and defining issues of conflict.

In case these suggestions were approved by Greece, representatives from Turkish and Greek Foreign Ministries were going to convene in Ankara and Athens by March 1998. However, on 24 February 1998, Greece sent a responding memorandum and refused the suggestions in question.

In this context, the proposal of “the development and implementation of CBMs in the Aegean, as an integrated whole in collaboration with the Secretary General of NATO” suggested during the NATO Foreign Ministers meeting in Luxemburg on 28-29 May 1998 was considered, thanks to the constructive attempts of NATO Secretary General J. Solana. Finally on 4 June 1998, CBMs were proclaimed.[41] These measures were meant to avoid risk of confrontation of the military forces of both countries during routine military practices in the open-seas region and international aviation zone in the Aegean and to sustain mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial rights. In this manner, when violation of rights and the occurrence of casualties were avoided, the risk of military confrontation in the Aegean would be minimized. However, it is questionable to what extent the Parties have been loyal to CBM and criticisms carried on in this respect.

Temperate Dialogue Process: Exchange of letters between Cem and Papandreu

Soon after the Öcalan crisis on May 24 1999, Foreign Minister İsmail Cem wrote a letter to his Greek counterpart Papandreou. Cem’s intention was to prepare ground for restarting the dialogue process which had been interrupted with the events of confidence-breaking Öcalan crisis. In the letter Cem expressed his views for the improvement of bilateral relations and mentioned about Turkey’s sensitivity, saying: “Our initial step should be to address the problem of what is perceived in Turkey as links that exist in Greece with terrorist organizations and their systematic encouragement. This is a matter of crucial importance for us and recent events have made it imperative that this issue be handled in an explicit manner and at the bilateral level between our two countries.

I, therefore, suggest that Turkey and Greece conclude an agreement to combat terrorism. Resolution of this issue would permit us to approach our known differences with greater confidence. The substance of this agreement may be inspired by accords we have already signed with some of our other neighbors, but is should also be specific to the nature of the problem as it affects our relations. We have some further ideas in this respect which we are ready to share with you.”[42]

This approach of Turkey received positive response from Greece and Papandreou. In his reply dated 25 June 1999, he expressed his appreciation that the wording of the attempt for improving the relations came from Turkey and added that Greece’s anticipations were in the same direction. Papandreou also stressed in his reply that Greece was willing to determine the conflict matters within the scope of International Law and agreements and listed the topics relevant to the interest of both Greece and Turkey as: cultural affairs, tourism, environmental issues, organized crime, economic cooperation and ecological problems.[43]

Within the moderate dialogue process, the sides have concentrated on matters other than major conflict issues between them and tried to foster cooperation. This made an impact that CBM had to be implemented in determination and created optimism for the realization of the second phase of relations to be based on that cooperation. In fact, the formal visits exchanged between the two and the noted willingness displayed for the concluded agreements to come into force are notable efforts in this respect.

Confidence Building Measures and Turkish-Greek Economic Cooperation Efforts

How did the political problems effect economic relations? Have the conflict issues influenced the foreign trade between Turkey and Greece negatively? How was the trend in mutual trade particularly during recession years and in the years following those? The answers to these questions will also contribute to the understanding of the positive impact of economic relations over the whole bunch of relations.

For long years, the development of economic relations between Turkey and Greece has been rather weak due to the existence of political/legal conflicts between them. Though the trade figures kept on growing gradually, it was possible to catch the same trend in economic cooperation. The stability was not reached due to political conflicts and this phenomenon made negative impact on joint investment and flow of currency. During the 1980s Turkish and Greek governments took controversial stance in viewing conflict issues between them. During this period, contrary to the Turkish approach by T. Özal, who deemed economic cooperation to be a stepping stone to the improvement of the relations in general. However, the PASOK government under the leadership of A. Papandreou put forth conditions for the initiation of the dialogue process. Greece being a member of the EU and Turkey being a candidate influenced competition between the two.

The solid steps taken towards the development of foreign trade and economic cooperation were achieved to a great extent in the period after 1999, after the CBMs came to life. The dialogue process started for the solution of conflicts between Turkey and Greece, as well as the process leading to the EU membership, were supported with the cogent attempts by both parties. This course was traced in economic cooperation efforts too. When considered from a general perspective, trade between Turkey and Greece was not much affected by the interruption of the dialogue process and controversy. Shortly, since the amount of trade was rather low, it was not a deterrent factor for resolving the major conflict issues. Their trade relations were neither negatively nor positively influenced by the dialogue process. However when their foreign trade figures increased, their mutual trade amounts would increase in parallel. Moreover, joint investments and endeavors for economic cooperation remained rather small. Accordingly, it is remarkable that after 1999, with the real initiation of the dialogue process, in line with the political improvements, the efforts of the businessmen and industrialists started to boom for maintaining better cooperation.

In fact, one of the suggestions included in the CBMs which turned into an agreement in 2000 aimed to foster common efforts of cooperation between Turkey and Greece, in the field of economy.[44] The Economic Cooperation Agreement concluded in Athens on 4 February 2000 envisaged; the Parties for the sake of promoting economic cooperation agree to join efforts on the fields including ship building and repairing, energy, agriculture and agro-industry, construction plus its consultancy services, transport, including maritime transport, telecommunication, banking including other financial services, tourism, vocational and management training, environment issues and health.(Article 2)

Under this framework the Parties mutually encouraged private sector firms and organizations for fostering economic cooperation, and agreed to develop a favorable climate for investment, facilitate the exchange of commercial and economic information, support exchanges and contacts of business delegations and representatives, promote the organization of fairs, exhibitions and symposia. They confirmed to make every effort to maintain the required conditions for the improvement of trade relations.(Article 3)

Moreover the Parties agreed to build up the Turkish-Greek Joint Economic Commission to facilitate and improve their economic cooperation. This commission was intended to propose the measures to be taken for the full implementation of the above Agreement, establish the general guidelines for economic cooperation, identify and promote opportunities to increase cooperation in the investment field and will serve as a consultation forum between the Parties on specific matters.(Article 5)

TURKISH-GREEK ECONOMIC RELATIONS: THE PERIOD AFTER 1990

It will be helpful to analyze Turkish-Greek relations by amount of foreign trade, flow of currency, joint investments, movements of people and dimensions of economic cooperation. When Turkish Greek relations are studied in periods, considering the difference in the amounts of trade, it is not be wrong to conclude that since 1970s economic relations augmented. Both sided admit that in spite of the positive increase in the recent years, it is still possible to elevate the figures even more. However, despite the increase in trade figures, Parties rather avoid the dispersion of cooperation fields and seem particularly reluctant to make border trade and bring investment facilities for the realization of solid projects. Efforts to dissolve such difficulties were considered during the 1988 Davos Summit. In fact after this summit the Turkish-Greek Business Council was founded to enable the businessmen to convene so that they could focus on forming joint projects.[45]

Turkish-Greek Business Council gathered meetings focusing on joint investment fields, investment facilities, finding and proposing solutions to conflict issues, organized conferences in third countries and searched for prospects of joint investment projects and thus contributed to the development of economic cooperation. However these attempts were not fruitful since political unrest hindered rapprochement, and the level of economic cooperation did not reach desired dimensions. On the other hand, 1970s and 1990s displayed considerable difference in the aspect of conflicts making an impact upon economic relations. Despite the decrease in foreign trade capacity during the troublesome years of 1974-1975, in the 1990s, it increased regardless of the controversy in political relations. (See Table I)

How did the political issues effect the economic relations between Turkey and Greece? Did the political problems influence foreign trade negatively? It is a fact that political relations between Turkey and Greece displayed ups and downs in line with the course of disputes. This situation can be easily observed between 1970-1980, being a period of tensions. For instance in 1975, a year after the Turkish intervention to Cyprus, the trade figures had fallen from 36 million $ to 986 thousand $. In 1976, it increased to 6,5 million $, and in 1977 to 16,8, in 1978 trade dropped back to 7,9, in 1979 rebounded to 30,9. The total rose in 1980 to 73,5, and fell in 1981 to 69,7. In 1982 trade jumped to 144,2 but shrank in 1983 to 78,6 million $.[46] In the period after 1990 Turkey and Greece came to the brink of war when the Kardak Rocks crisis broke out. However, during the crisis year, 1994 and in the following years, the trade figures continued to increase. Finally, the foreign trade capacity kept on growing in the recent years (see Table I).

On the other hand, one can observe change in the kinds of goods and services exported and imported between 1996 and 2000. As for the export items from Turkey to Greece; while agricultural products and metal products exhibited slight change, there was considerable change in the share of industrial products.[47]

As can be seen in table 1, though frequent disputes broke up in the period after 1990, the foreign trade was not influenced much by this politically shaky situation. The first half of the 1990s despite the concluding of Athens and Istanbul declarations plus the Madrid Declaration, was spent for efforts of trying to build up mutual confidence. Particularly Greece’s claims about Turkey’s violating national air space limits of Greece and FIR violations brought up the need for CBMs. During 1994-1995 after Greece’s approval of the UN Law of the Sea, Turkey declared to it would consider “casus belli” Greek attempts to widen its territorial waters limit to 12 miles in the Aegean. Following that in 1996 Kardak Rocks crises broke out and was settled in 1997-98. Than the tension involving the deployment of S-300 missiles to Cyprus came to fore. Finally in February 1999 the Öcalan crises constituted the climax of all tensions. Although all these negative impacts influenced economic relations, on the whole the foreign trade figures increased considerably. Another reason for this increase is of course Turkey’s entering in to the Customs Union with the EU at the end of 1995.

Table I
ANNUAL (1973-2004) FOREIGN TRADE SATISTICS OF TURKEY AND FOREIGN TRADE BETWEEN TURKEY AND GREECE (X1000 DOLAR)               
Annual Export to Greece Import from Greece TR – GR Volume of Foreign Trade TR – GR Balance of Foreign Trade Volume of Turkey’s Export (%) Share of GR in Turkey’s Export Volume of Turkey’s Import (%) Share of GR in Turkey’s Import Balance of Turkey's Foreign Trade (%) Volume of Turkey’s Foreign Trade (%) Share of GR in Turkey’s Foreign Trade
1973 19,530 7,005 26,534 12,525 1,317,083 1.48% 2,086,216 0.34% -769,133 3,403,299 0.78%
1974 19,842 16,197 36,040 3,645 1,532,182 16.3 1.30% 3,777,501 81.1 0.43% -2,245,319 191.9 5,309,683 56 0.68%
1975 521 466 987 55 1,401,075 -8.6 0.04% 4,738,558 25.4 0.01% -3,337,483 48.6 6,139,633 15.6 0.02%
1976 1,798 4,692 6,490 -2,895 1,960,214 39.9 0.09% 5,128,647 8.2 0.09% -3,168,433 -5.1 7,088,862 15.5 0.09%
1977 1,572 15,252 16,824 -13,680 1,753,026 -10.6 0.09% 5,796,278 13 0.26% -4,043,252 27.6 7,549,304 6.5 0.22%
1978 4,884 3,095 7,979 1,790 2,288,163 30.5 0.21% 4,599,025 -20.7 0.07% -2,310,862 -42.8 6,887,187 -8.8 0.12%
1979 4,662 26,230 30,891 -21,568 2,261,195 -1.2 0.21% 5,069,432 10.2 0.52% -2,808,236 21.5 7,330,627 6.4 0.42%
1980 8,873 64,672 73,545 -55,799 2,910,122 28.7 0.30% 7,909,364 56 0.82% -4,999,242 78 10,819,486 47.6 0.68%
1981 47,398 22,368 69,766 25,030 4,702,934 61.6 1.01% 8,933,374 12.9 0.25% - 4 230 439 -15.4 13 636 308 26 0.51%
1982 129,877 14,410 144,286 115,467 5,745,973 22.2 2.26% 8,842,665 -1 0.16% - 3 096 692 -26.8 14 588 639 7 0.99%
1983 57,619 20,984 78,603 36,635 5,727,834 -0.3 1.01% 9,235,002 4.4 0.23% - 3 507 168 13.3 14 962 836 2.6 0.53%
1984 93,686 48,339 142,025 45,347 7,133,604 24.5 1.31% 10,757,032 16.5 0.45% - 3 623 429 3.3 17 890 636 19.6 0.79%
1985 76,221 47,164 123,385 29,057 7,958,010 11.6 0.96% 11,343,376 5.5 0.42% - 3 385 367 -6.6 19 301 386 7.9 0.64%
1986 75,603 78,241 153,844 -2,638 7,456,726 -6.3 1.01% 11,104,771 -2.1 0.70% - 3 648 046 7.8 18 561 497 -3.8 0.83%
1987 58,583 126,476 185,059 -67,893 10,190,049 36.7 0.57% 14,157,807 27.5 0.89% - 3 967 757 8.8 24 347 856 31.2 0.76%
1988 95,802 82,702 178,504 13,100 11,662,024 14.4 0.82% 14,335,398 1.3 0.58% - 2 673 374 -32.6 25 997 422 6.8 0.69%
1989 124,942 100,888 225,830 24,054 11,624,692 -0.3 1.07% 15,792,143 10.2 0.64% - 4 167 451 55.9 27 416 835 5.5 0.82%
1990 139,100 128,600 267,700 10,500 12,959,288 11.5 1.07% 22,302,126 41.2 0.58% - 9 342 838 124.2 35 261 413 28.6 0.76%
1991 143,700 81,100 224,800 62,600 13,593,462 4.9 1.06% 21,047,014 -5.6 0.39% - 7 453 552 -20.2 34 640 476 -1.8 0.65%
1992 145,700 88,100 233,800 57,600 14,714,629 8.2 0.99% 22,871,055 8.7 0.39% - 8 156 426 9.4 37 585 684 8.5 0.62%
1993 118,200 120,500 238,700 -2,300 15,345,067 4.3 0.77% 29,428,370 28.7 0.41% 14 083 303 72.7 44 773 436 19.1 0.53%
1994 168,700 105,100 273,800 63,600 18,105,872 18 0.93% 23,270,019 -20.9 0.45% - 5 164 147 -63.3 41 375 891 -7.6 0.66%
1995 209,900 200,700 410,600 9,200 21,637,041 19.5 0.97% 35,709,011 53.5 0.56% - 14 071 970 172.5 57 346 052 38.6 0.72%
1996 236,500 285,000 521,500 -48,500 23,224,465 7.3 1.02% 43,626,642 22.2 0.65% - 20 402 178 45 66 851 107 16.6 0.78%
1997 298,200 430,800 729,000 -132,600 26,261,072 13.1 1.14% 48,558,721 11.3 0.89% - 22 297 649 9.3 74 819 792 11.9 0.97%
1998 369,200 319,700 688,900 49,500 26,973,952 2.7 1.37% 45,921,392 -5.4 0.70% - 18 947 440 -15 72 895 344 -2.6 0.95%
1999 406,800 303,000 709,800 103,800 26,587,225 -1.4 1.53% 40,671,272 -11.4 0.74% - 14 084 047 -25.7 67 258 497 -7.7 1.06%
2000 434,700 430,700 865,400 4,000 27,774,906 4.5 1.57% 54,502,821 34 0.79% - 26 727 914 89.8 82 277 727 22.3 1.05%
2001 476,100 266,200 742,300 209,900 31,334,216 12.8 1.52% 41,399,083 -24 0.64% - 10 064 867 -62.3 72 733 299 -11.6 1.02%
2002 590,382 312,462 902,844 277,920 36,059,089 15.1 1.64% 51,553,797 24.5 0.61% - 15 494 708 53.9 87 612 886 20.5 1.03%
2003 920,401 427,743 1,348,144 492,658 47,252,836 31 1.95% 69,339,692 34.5 0.62% - 22 086 856 42.5 116 592 528 33.1 1.16%
Source: Prepared by using DİE (State Institute Statistic) and DTM (Foreign Trade Undersecretariat) statistics. www.die.gov.tr ; www.dtm.gov.tr               
http://www.dtm.gov.tr/ead/SEKTOR/it-ulk.xls ; http://www.dtm.gov.tr/ead/SEKTOR/ih-ulk.xls ; (20. 07.2004).               


During the years 1990-2003, foreign trade of Turkey boomed from 35 billion $ to 116,6 billion $. During the same period foreign trade with Greece likewise increased from 267,7 million $ to 1,348 billion $. As shown in table 1 the share of Greece within total trade of Turkey increased from 0,76 % to 1,16 %. In fact, there is more potential for the increase of foreign trade and economic cooperation between Turkey and Greece. If we particularly consider that economic relations and trade continued even in times when tension existed between the two, there is real hope to be optimistic. Economic relations continued during the time of utmost tension -even when the risk of hot war existed. The one exception was in 1974, with Turkey’s intervention in Cyprus. The fall in the trade capacity occurred in 1975, and did not reach 1974 levels until 1979. In the years 1978, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1988, 1991, 1998 trade volume partially decreased. But in the following years the increase restarted.
 

During the severe events of the Kardak crisis foreign trade relations were not harmed much. In real figures trade volume between Turkey and Greece in 1996 was 521 million $ and reached 729 million $ in 1997. When the Kardak crisis is seen from the angel that it involved the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of the two, it is hard to think of a relevance between the level of foreign trade and political disputes. Here it should be noted that the tension increased militarily and politically at once, and diplomatic process were started before the tension turned into war. Neither side preferred war despite the nature of the conflict being extremely explosive. Another deterrent factor was that Customs Union Agreement with the EU was being handy for foreign trade particularly for imports. 

However in 1999, the year of the Öcalan crisis the case was different. In this event Turkish public opinion against Greece forced Turkish companies working with Greek counterparts to review their business ties. Rahmi Koç, Chairman of the Board of Koç Holding, resigned from the presidency of Turkish-Greek Business Council and said: “We really worked hard for the improvement of business relations, cultural relations and from time to time even political relations with our neighbor Greece. However we were not received with the same warmness and hospitality. We were the ones who took the initiative in every attempt. Always we were the ones who put the things to the normal course. Unfortunately, all these efforts could not go beyond personal friendship limits. Still we were determined to go on and believed we should not give up. During the process, I had to face criticisms from inside and outside our group. Sad to say, recent developments proved that all our efforts were in vain. It seems the agenda of our Greek friends was totally different from ours. Under these circumstances and in my opinion, the mission of the Council lost its meaning. That is why, I would like to be excused from my position in the Council.”[48] Erkut Yüceoğlu the Chairman of the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen Association (TÜSİAD) drawing attention to the Greek support terrorism added: “Ten years ago we started efforts in good will, created platform for debates, took up all problems one by one, so that the Greek governments and politicians could hear us. But we received no positive response from Greek businessmen… They chose to hold low profile meetings unlike the ample ones in Turkey. It looked as though they did not want their politicians to join the meetings or the politicians were unwilling to join. The activities turned out to be inefficient and accordingly we approve the Council’s decision. Moreover, this decision should be conceived as a protestation of Turkish public opinion.”[49]

In return, Turkish-Greek Business Council Co-Chairman P. Kutsikos made a statement and said: “I am sorry about Mr. Koç’s resignation. He wrote to me informing his resignation and I wrote to him in reply that cooperation among businessmen should continue, because we are not politicians and we do not deal with political issues or try to dissolve political problems. I would like you to note that I do not find it reasonable in the limits of common sense. I wish he looks over it once more. The interruption of our relations will no doubt effect BSEC negatively too. I do not want to get into the argument whether the governments did the right or not. But it should be remembered that two countries got over a conflict like Kardak Crisis in the recent past and we did not allow the relations within the council to be effected then.

Our contacts should never be cut. Only this way we can bring our major problems to the negotiation table.” As for Greece’s relevance in the Öcalan case, he said: “I am not a politician so I cannot say why the Greek government considered such stance on the matter. It is not reasonable to get into issues out of our interest. In reply to Mr. Koç’s rather ireful letter, I remarked that we should view the matter again as businessmen. Good or bad, should we sacrifice everything we accomplished in long years for something which is over now? When Özal and Papandreou founded the Turkish-Greek Business Council they considered this step to be a bridge to connect the two nations. I wrote letters to Mr. Koç and Şarık Tara saying we were ready to discuss anytime and anywhere the points which we fall apart as well as the ones which bring us together. The elements that unite us are far more than the ones that split us apart.”[50]

During 1999-2000, the years of the Öcalan crisis, while political relations displayed a volatile trend, economic relations were not much effected by that instability. Furthermore, in the last two years trade figures reached 709,8 and 865,4 million $ level. As marked in Table II, all the reactions to Greece’s relevance in the Öcalan crisis  (like the interruption of economic relations, canceling of the contracts forwarded to Greek transport vessels, visa requirement for Greek citizens) were temporary and not even as efficient as the boycotting of Italian goods for similar reasons.[51] This is also due to the fact that the amount of trade with Greece covers only 1% of Turkey’s total trade capacity. (See Table I) 

Table II GREECE’S AND ITALY’S SHARES IN TURKEY’S VOLUME OF FOREIGN TRADE (1997-2000) (million $)

 

ANNUAL EXPORT

ANNUAL IMPORT

COUNTRY

1997

%

1998

%

1999

%

2000

%

1997

%

1998

%

1999

%

2000

%

ITALY

1.387,2

5,3

1.557,1

5,8

1.685,0

6,3

1.748,0

6,4

4.463,1

9,2

4.221,7

9,2

3.192,2

7,8

4.304,9

8,0

GREECE

298,2

1,1

370,0

1,4

406,8

1,5

434,7

1,6

430,8

0,9

319,8

0,7

303,0

0,7

430,7

0,8

TURKEY

26.261,1

 

26.974,0

 

26.588,6

 

27.324,4

 

48.558,7

 

45.921,4

 

40.687,3

 

53.982,9

 

Source: Prepared by using SIS, TU, FTU statistics.

Foreign Trade Statistics by Countries / http://www.die.gov.tr/ENGLISH/SONIST/DISTICIST/271004/tablolar_En.htm

 It should be noted that the income from tourism, border trade and shuttle trade are not included in the Greek trade figures. If the figures of these sectors are also included, a capacity of 2 billion $ is in question. As showen by the statistics of Turkish Ministry of Culture inline with the number of tourists visiting Turkey every year there is an increase in the number of Greek guests also. However the level of tourism between Turkey and Greece is still very low. As will be observed in Table III, in the number of Turkish tourists visiting Greece, the case is more evident. 

 

Table III Number of Visitors From Greece to Turkey (1990-2003) (X1000 person)

 

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

GREECE

227.7

138.9

147.2

148.2

127.0

154.2

147.3

170.4

168.5

146.9

218.7

197.3

280.0

393.5

%

0,042

0,025

0,021

0,023

0,019

0,020

0,017

0,018

0,017

0,020

0,021

0,017

0,021

0,028

TOTAL

5.389

5.518

7.076

6.501

6.671

7.727

8.614

9.689

9.753

7.487

10.428

11.619

13.256

14.030

Source: Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Prepared by using  “Turizm İstatistikleri (Sınır Giriş-Çıkış) 2003/Tourism Statistics 2003.

http://www.kultur.gov.tr/portal/istatistik_tr.asp

 

Number of Visitors From Turkey to Greece (1992-2002) (X1000 person)

TURKEY

 

 

73.7

149.3

73.4

49.0

47.4

44.7

69.9

80.5

134

114.4

139.0

 

%

-

-

0,008

0,015

0,007

0,005

0,005

0,004

0,006

0,006

0,010

0,008

0,009

 

TOTAL

-

-

9.756

9.913

11.230

10.712

9.782

10.588

11.363

12.605

13.567

14.678

14.918

 

Source: Greek National Tourism Organisation, “Arrivals of Foreign Tourists at Frontiers by Citizenship 1992-2002” , http://www.gnto.gr/2/01/eb10003.html

Greek Investments within Total Foreign Investments in Turkey

Greek citizens to reside in Turkey and pursue commercial activity, were determined by the Convention Respecting Conditions of Residence and Jurisdiction, in the Lausanne Peace Treaty, based on reciprocity principle. However it had taken longer to conclude issues as to who would be considered as permanent residents and this clause was determined on 30 October 1930, by the Convention d’Etablissement, de Commerce et de Navigation entre la Turquie et la Grèce/Convention of Residence, Commerce and Navigation between Turkey and Greece. It allowed Greek citizens to reside and lead active business in Turkey. However this agreement was annulled (with 6 months notice) when the pressure and violence exerted on the Turkish community in Cyprus reached unacceptable dimensions.[52] It was observed that relations with Greece deteriorated upon the release of the 1964 Decree, demanding Greek citizens to leave Turkey. In Greece ruthless pressure was exerted over the Turkish minority living in Western Thrace.[53] During the 1960s it was possible to trace the negative impact of political relations on the fluctuation of trade figures. The amount of trade, which was 1,9 million $ in 1961 increased to 6,4 million in 1962; dropped to 4,9 million in 1964, improved a little in 1965 to 6,5 million, in 1966 dropped to 5,9 and drew back to 2,6 million $ in 1967.[54]

In line with the fluctuations in political relations, Greek investment in Turkey has been rather small. Here there is an exception, Greek citizens of Turkish origin. According to the data provided by the Turkish Treasury Under secretariat, between 1.1.1954 and 31.10.2003 the oldest Greek investment in Turkey went back to 1986.[55] However, following that date there has been considerable increase in the number of investments since the 1964 Decree was annulled in 1988.[56]

Until the end of June 2003, the number of Greek companies operating with foreign capital in Turkey is 76.[57] The Greek share within the foreign investment in Turkey covers only 0,40 % of the total.[58]

Between 1980 and June 2003, the total foreign investment allowed by Turkey was 35,2 billion $. Whereas the share of Greece in this sum was only 83,96 million $.[59]

 

Table IV Greek Capital in the Breakdown of Foreign Capital Companies Operating in Turkey (As of December 31, 2002)

Years

No. of Permits

Authorized FDI (million $)

1980-1990

6

0,42

1991

8

1,34

1992

5

2,75

1993

10

4,22

1994

5

0,35

1995

10

2,97

1996

9

1,2

1997

12

1,99

1998

4

1,56

1999

8

2,64

2000

16

32,7

2001

9 (As of September)

3,47

2002

?

4,85

2003 (As of June 30, 2003)

?

23,5

Total

 

83,96

Source: SIS, TU. (Prepared by using “Breakdown of Authorised FDI According to Home Countries” Tables, 

http://www.hazine.gov.tr/english/ybs/ybsstats.xls

http://www.hazine.gov.tr/english/ybs/homecountrying.htm ; (20 July 2004); http://www.hazine.gov.tr/english/ybs/ulkeing.htm  ; (20 July 2004).

Real Estate Acquisition of Greek Citizens in Turkey

Another development contributing to economic relations and cooperation between Turkey and Greece are the legal arrangements of real estate acquisition of foreigners (as real person or legal person) in Turkey. The 1964 Decree[60] (dated 2 November 1964, numbered 6/3801) said  “In reciprocation of all kinds of measures and transactions of the Greek Government;

  1. All possessions of Greek nationals in Turkey including the ones from private property, and their relevant rights in kind or any other transfers to bring such results, will be ceased.
  2. a) All sorts of value and income (including cost, returns, revenues and etc.) of Greek nationals, arising from their assets in Turkey will be frozen without any exception.
  3. b) Previously de-blockage of revenues from a/m assets of those persons in Turkey, will be re-blockaded. (A sum up to 1500 TL will be exempted monthly from the total revenues of the landowners in Turkey, to cover living expenses in case they do not have other income sources)
  4. The above items 1 and 2 will not be applicable for all kinds of tax, duty and other expenses to be collected from them by the Public Administrations and other legal persons.
  5. Article 1 of this Decree will not be applicable during the nationalization of the said real estates.
  6. Under the reservation of the listed items in Article 3 and apart from the execution proceedings about recovery of judgement claims, the real estates specified in Article 1, will no way be sequestrated or sold through execution (the debts due of the assets will be paid to legal persons and real persons in Turkey which are confirmed by financial authorities in Turkey, are exempted from the clauses of Article 1 and can be sequestrated or sold through execution for the collection of debt.)
  7. In case Greek nationals own shares in the immovable assets in Turkey, sharing and allotment is not allowed even if it is with the consent of the shareholders. Partition can only be made by court verdict and the shared amount will be due to Article 2 item (a) of the Decree.
  8. The Articles of the Decree will not be applicable for persons carrying Greek nationality but not of Greek origin.
  9. Changes in nationality of Greek citizens effected after the date of declaration of the Decree will not be taken into consideration.
  10. The application of the a/m terms and conditions will be observed by the Court and other liable administrative authorities and in case of contrary applications to the points mentioned in the Decree, will be informed to the local finance authority, at once.”[61]

The Decree was annulled during T. Özal’s Vice Presidency “for extending goodwill towards the solution of conflict issues between the two countries by the decision of the council of Ministers  (announced in the Official Gazette dated 3 February, 1988, numbered 19717).

Moreover, with the Council of Minister’s Decree dated 23 March 1988, numbered 88/12757 (advertised in the Official Gazette date 24 March 1988, numbered 19764) during the validity of the annulled Decree of 1964, the savings due to inheritance which were not registered in the name of the inheritor were to be registered in the name of the inheritor.

However due to a number of limitations still being applied by the Greek governments on Turkish Minority in Greece, the approval of the General Directorate of Land Registry and Cadastre is required.”

Upon the obliteration of the l964 Decree in 1988, with all its consequences, the Law enabling real persons and legal persons to acquire real estates in Turkey came into force in Turkey upon its declaration in the Official Gazette dated 19 July 2004, numbered 25173. This new Law amends the terms of Land Registration in Article 19 in the Law passed on 3 July 2003, numbered 4916, also amending the Article 35 of the Land Registration Law numbered 2644. In fact, according to the data given in Table V, until the date 14 July, 2004, among the foreigners (real persons) owning estate in Turkey, Greeks retain 12.558 assets covering a total of 4.165.625 m2.

 

Table V (As of July 14, 2004) REAL ESTATE ACQUISITION OF GREEK REAL PERSONS IN TURKEY

Province

 Country/Citizenship

No. R. Estate

No. Person

Land / Real Property

Land/R.P. (Building/Residence)

Apart

 Total (m2)

No.

(m2)

No.

(m2)

No.

(m2)

AFYON

Greece (Turkish)

1

1

0

0

0

0

1

35

35

ANKARA

Greece (25 Turkish, 3 Greek)

28

34

3

1.902

0

0

25

1.473

3.375

ANTALYA

Greece (Turkish)

23

16

8

6.401

0

0

15

427

6.828

AYDIN

Greece (Turkish 40, 1 Greek)

41

41

9

18.541

4

1.014

28

2.317

21.872

BALIKESİR

Greece  (Turkish)

298

247

169

189.500

36

10.370

93

4.370

204.240

BATMAN

Greece (Turkish)

2

2

0

0

0

0

2

32

32

BURSA

Greece  (4008 Turkish, 17 Greek)

4.025

5.699

2.606

1.501.286

540

75.022

879

27.532

1.603.840

ÇANAKKALE

Greece (2 Turkish, 12 Greek)

14

10

10

11.978

 

48

0

0

12.026

ÇORUM

Greece (Turkish)

1

1

0

0

1

164

0

0

164

DÜZCE

Greece (Turkish)

1

1

0

0

0

0

1

27

27

EDİRNE

Greece (89 Turkish, Greek)

91

87

40

202.538

17

5.490

34

2.845

210.873

ESKİŞEHİR

Greece (Turkish)

24

20

2

424

5

873

17

608

1.905

GAZİANTEP

Greece (Greek)

1

1

0

0

0

0

1

76

76

HATAY

Greece (3 Turkish, 12 Greek)

15

12

10

18.614

5

1.195

0

0

19.809

İSTANBUL

Greece (4060 Turkish, 941 Greek)

5.001

5.305

1.271

752.260

732

102.372

2.998

93.152

947.784

İZMİR

Greece (1327 Turkish, 20 Greek)

1.347

1.210

575

275.454

248

34.707

524

20.111

330.272

KAYSERİ

Greece (Turkish)

1

1

0

0

1

450

0

0

450

KIRKLARELİ

Greece (Turkish)

11

11

2

614

1

309

8

305

1.228

KOCAELİ

Greece (443 Turkish)

443

576

301

116.969

22

3.911

120

4.820

125.700

KONYA

Greece (Turkish)

5

2

0

0

0

0

5

186

186

MANİSA

Greece (542 Turkish, 1 Greek)

543

490

383

477.062

42

10.015

118

4.264

491.341

MERSİN

Greece (1 Turkish, 35 Greek)

36

10

36

15.186

0

0

0

0

15.186

MUĞLA

Greece (78 Turkish)

78

68

27

20.215

18

8.395

34

3.965

32.575

NEVŞEHİR

Greece (1 Turkish, 4 Greek)

5

4

1

78

4

350

0

0

428

SAKARYA

Greece (80 Turkish)

80

88

55

15.544

4

810

21

988

17.342

TEKİRDAĞ

Greece (105 Turkish, 3 Greek)

108

106

21

9.906

0

0

87

8.626

18.532

YALOVA

Greece (334 Turkish, 1 Greek)

335

405

131

87.619

19

4.085

185

7.795

99.499

TOTAL

(11.505 Turkish, 1053 Greek)

12.558

14.448

5.660

3.722.091

1.699

259.580

5.196

183.954

4.165.625

Source: Prepared by using statistics of Turkish General Directorate of Land Registry and Cadastre.

 http://www.tkgm.gov.tr/tapunet/atkgmgovtr/yabanci_isler/yabancilarilgeneli.zip

 However, if we look into the figure of 12.558 real estates, only 1.053 of those belong to people of real Greek origin. The rest, 11.505, belong to Greek citizens of Turkish origin. It can be concluded that a more tolerant regime is applied to this group. Moreover when persons of real Greek origin attempt to buy real estate, their application is subject to the approval of the Circular of the General Directorate of Land Registry and Cadastre, dated 22 March 2000, numbered 1361-121T-302-317, which is still in force. Furthermore, the Law regulating the procedures to be followed by foreigners (real persons or legal persons) to own real estates in Turkey, advertised in the Official Gazette dated 19 July 2003, numbered 25173 (passed on 3 July 2003), is being applied to Greek origin real persons and legal persons, on a reciprocal basis. 

[62]

As for common investments, in June 2000 an agreement was concluded between Turkey and Greece, for the implementation of natural gas network, foreseeing cooperation in this respect. Both Countries agreed to work cooperatively on the EU supported, Interstate Oil and Gas Transport to Europe (INOGATE) project. In this connection a protocol was signed between the national gas companies of Turkey and Greece (BOTAS and DEPA) on 22 January 2000. The Protocol envisages collective attempts for the realization of natural gas projects in South-Eastern Europe.[63] A consortium was formed among Turkey, Greece and USA companies (GAMA, Copelouzos and Exxon Mobil) for providing energy. It was declared that this Consortium was going to be responsible for building up an electric mill in Greece, with a capacity of 400-600 MW to supply Greece’s energy requirement. The rest would be exported to Turkey.[64]  As for the progress in banking sector, the National Bank of Greece is expected to open a branch in Turkey to supply loans for Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMS).[65]

The major impediment faced in the course of enhancing economic relations between Turkey and Greece, is the double taxation problem confronted by both Turkish and Greek businessmen who wish to invest in both Countries. Parties, mutually willing to invest believe that all these problems can be sorted out by common arrangements to be made on such issues.

The matter was brought up during Greek Foreign Minister G. Papandreou’s visit to Turkey in April 2001 and it was declared that necessary steps were being taken. In fact, such efforts led to the conclusion of the “Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation with Respect to Taxes on Income” on 2 December 2003 in Ankara and came into force upon its advertisement in the Official Gazette dated 2 March 2004 numbered 25390.[66]

In the meantime, it was stressed that the progress in economic relations would contribute to the overcome the financial crisis in Turkey and accordingly, mutual reduction of military expenses would bring relief to their national economies and also would minimize the perceptions of armament competition.[67]  In the same context, the Greek Foreign Minister G. Papandreou said: “We believe that a dependable stability has been reached by now. When we look ahead, we keep asking is this much military budget necessary or not. We could divert this sum for the welfare of our societies. Both countries should carefully watch where their interests meet. If we keep on quarrelling, the world will not take us seriously anymore, we will get more and more marginal and will lose in the world of competition. We should re-determine our priorities and get into cooperation rather than creating fear through military expenditures.”[68]

During the Turkish –Greek Business Council meeting in Istanbul on 26-27 April 2001, economic cooperation and common investment prospects were focused on. During the Meeting it was stressed that before the 2004 Olympic games in Athens, common investment projects on the field of tourism had to be promoted.[69]

Regional Cooperation

It was noticed that a new era had started in the course of Turkish-Greek relations soon after the Helsinki Summit where Turkey was accepted as a candidate member to the EU. In the course of the dialogue process with Turkey, particularly during the Helsinki Summit it was stressed that it would be to the interest of Greece to get closer with Turkey, and financial impediments should be partially removed to enable this development.[70]

Having met similar difficulties on the road to its EU integration process, Greece proposed cooperation with Turkey to overcome the obstacles they would likely meet.  On 28 February 2002, Turkish-Greek EU Committee held a meeting in line with the rapprochement, in Ankara with the participation of experts from both sides. They discussed ways of cooperation on EU issues. After this meeting it was focused on means of cooperation, groups targeted, and training seminars for these groups. In the scope of the Declaration announced in Ankara on 6 April 2001, it was mentioned about the projects in line with the EU cooperation and the efficiency of these projects to bolster solidarity and cooperation between Turkey and Greece. It was emphasized that training seminars would help to enhance understanding between Turkish and Greek officials.[71]

Another cooperation initiative for EU cooperation is the development of border regions. Since the border region between Turkey and Greece also constitutes the Turkey-EU border, it is possible for Turkey and Greece to make collective attempt to maintaine the EU support and funds in this respect.[72] As pointed out by Kurbela, within the frame of INTERREG III, for the improvement of border regions (including some marine borders), and the nearby regions around the borders of member states, cooperation can be also in question between Turkey and Greece. Therefore: “Total aid to be forwarded to Greece will be 568 million EURO and up to 80 % of this amount can be used under this category. Greece’s national contribution to this amount (151 million Euro) will be also added to the above total, making a total of 605 million Euro and between 10-20 % of this total will be spared for cooperation with Turkey (totaling to 65-130 million Euro). The nearby regions to be included in Turkish-Greek cooperation are; Eastern Macedonia, Thrace, Northern and Southern Aegean. In the scope of the cooperation program issues like, environment protection, cooperation among small and average size enterprises, cooperation on tourism and cultural affairs and cooperative programs among local administrations will be taken up.”[73]

Similar efforts are also pursued under the framework of South European Cooperation Initiative (SECI). SECI is aiming to sustain economic cooperation among Balkan countries, pre-considering the relations of the member countries with the EU and particularly trying to harmonize the cooperation efforts on energy and transport sectors, environment and organized crime issues, stock exchange transactions, cooperation beyond borders and correlation of national regulations for the realization of structural projects. Turkey and Greece, due to their location in their relations with the EU and the Western system, are guiding countries in the body of SECI.[74]

Another field of cooperation which the two can focus on is the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC). BSEC was founded to foster economic, political, commercial and cultural cooperation among Black Sea coastal states as well as Black Sea regional countries which have close ties with each other. BSEC is a unique organization for Turkey and Greece where they need to enhance their cooperation.  Most of the economic cooperation among the West, Caucasus and Central Asia is made through the Black Sea. Moreover, the economic assets of these regions have to be carried to the international markets through Black Sea. Here, Turkey’s and Greece’s significance comes to fore, considering their location and strategic importance which necessitate their strict cooperation. However the same conjuncture also creates a sort of rivalry between Turkey and Greece towards Europe, USA and Russia which gives rise to clash of interests between the two from time to time. Particularly the argument on the transport of regional sources (mainly oil and natural gas) to the world markets is important in this respect. The alternative transport routes of regional oil, with pipelines passing through Greece and Bulgaria, or through the Turkish Straits to the ports in the Mediterranean from the Baku-Tiflis-Ceyhan pipeline, all attract the attention of both national and international actors and eventually force them to be efficiently active in the Region. From this point of view along with Turkey’s economic interests, its sensitivity is also in question. Particularly the environmental dimension of oil transport requires the cooperation of Turkey and Greece among other countries of the Region.[75]

Furthermore, on 23 February 2003, in Thessalonica, Turkey and Greece concluded the “Agreement Between the Republic of Turkey and Hellenic Republic Concerning the Realization of the Turkey-Greece Gas Interconnector and the Supply of Natural Gas from the Republic of Turkey to the Hellenic Republic”. Thusly, Turkey and Greece became to transit countries for the transport of natural gas to Europe and the Balkans.[76]

CONCLUSION

In contrast with the apprehension that political disputes would harmed the bilateral and multilateral economic relations and efforts for cooperation between Turkey and Greece, this study, covering the period between 1973-2003, has proved that, apart from the 1974, relations of this types were not much effected by political tensions. Serious political tensions have harmed trade relations to some extent but have not fully block the trade flow.

Consequently, during this 30 years time interval, though serious tensions came in the course of political relations and in some cases the two countries came to the brink of war, foreign trade was not directly effected by the disputes. This is because in both countries’ trade figures, the rate of their mutual trade did not exceed 1%. Therefore, since their mutual commitments were few, trade relations did not turn into a pressurizing factor over general relations. Moreover political concerns may be considered to have impeded the attempts for the improvement of economic relations, too. For instance, during 1980s Prime Minister T. Özal brought up suggestions for the development of economic and trade relations between the Greek islands near the Turkish coast and Turkey. However his attempts were turned down by A. Papandreou, who feared that such relations would create a sort of dependence. On the other hand with the volume of mutual trade being low and an abundance of other alternatives, Turkey and Greece were not indispensable to each other in any respect. Since they were never held back with concerns about trade and commercial commitments, it was easier for both to take political measures and activate them.

Whenever there is a risk of war, the side holding stronger cards in the economic and political sense, uses that leverage as means of pressure in bargaining with the other. The same was observed in Turkish Greek relations. Greece, being a member of the EU and Turkey only a candidate status created such a trump card for Greece against Turkey. Greece used these cards against Turkey and hindered the economic aids to be forwarded to Turkey by the EU at a time when Turkey direly needed foreign aid for its economic development. However, when Turkey entered into the Customs Union with the EU and her candidacy was approved during the Helsinki Summit, at the time of discussions and arguments, Greece did not refuse any item as long as its interests conformed with the other members of the EU.  Greece had chosen not be a trouble-maker member in the EU when Turkey was out of the decision-making mechanism and had to comply with the decisions made. On the other hand, when aid packages were in question, Greece carried on its objections. However, such objections were pacified to some extent during the Helsinki summit and the two agreed on cooperation for the membership process of Turkey into the EU.

Although politicians and representatives of private sector had long ago agreed upon the need to improve economic relations and cooperation between Turkey and Greece, necessary legal arrangements to enable cooperation delayed the process. Before and after the meeting held in Ankara in March 2001, although considerable progress was made on some issues, difficulties particularly on the realization of investments and double taxation will continue until 2005, when the Agreement on those matters comes into force. On the other hand, for the businessmen of both countries, joint investment projects in their own countries and in third countries are tied to the present economic structure. The financial crisis in Turkey lead the investors in both countries to search for stability. During the Turkish Greek Business Council meetings in Istanbul, it was stressed that representatives from the private sector of both countries should enter into joint ventures so that the economic crisis in Turkey can be surmounted. Within this framework, it was agreed to work in cooperation and solidarity for the development of economic relations with the EU, too. Regarding the preparations for the 2004 Olympic games in Athens, they agreed for cooperation on tourism and stressed that they could create joint projects in this field. Only when these projects are brought to life, their impact on political issues can be observed.

One has to be realistic about the degree of the contribution that the improvement in economic relations and cooperation can bring to the solution of legal and political disputes between Turkey and Greece. No matter how far the dimension of economic progress can reach, it is impossible to think that it would make a direct positive impact on the solution of Aegean issues, since Aegean disputes involve the sovereignty rights and national interests of both countries. When these vital national interests are in question, neither side will sacrifice those for economic benefits. Under these circumstances, the progress in economic relations will definitely contribute to build up the confidence atmosphere between the two countries. For the confidence gained to be sustained the sides must preserve their strategic interests, which will also effect their taking tactical stance. CBMs and their efficient implementation, plus the sides trying to improve cooperation on topics other than economic relations politicians and national public opinion in both countries reaching a flexible level are all factors which will contribute to negotiation between Turkey and Greece.

Although the proportion of their mutual foreign trade figures within total trade results gradually improved, the advantage of economic relations is not enough to be a deterrent factor in the political decision making process. During the Öcalan crisis, due to the Turkish public opinion boycotting Italian made goods, the imports from Italy to Turkey decreased about l billion $ (proportionally 24,4 %). The same trend was not traced in Turkish Greek economic relations since trade figures were already low and did make a pressurizing impact over determining foreign policy. This situation is important in the aspect of the dimension of foreign trade, its direction and the sectors on which it is denser than the others. There is no vital product in the items of trade between Turkey and Greece which carries strategic importance and also the balance between imports and exports does not yield a sort of dependency to either side an upper-hand in bargaining. When considered from another angle, the realization of long term joint investments and commercial relations between the states to a great extent depend upon sustained stability between them. The agreement concluded in 2003 among Iran-Turkey and Greece involving transport of natural gas proves that such sustainability and stability is targeted. However in the long term, it is a fact that there is great potential and chance for the improvement of economic relations and for the growing of common interests among these countries. Turkey’s level of industrialization and the tourism potential which the two countries hold and their vast commercial prospects provide numerous chances for national and international investors.

Another point which has to be taken up in the concept of confidence building is that these measures are not only meant prevent military confrontation between the military forces of both countries. Although, in the beginning the measures were meant for that purpose, in the long term, for all these efforts to give fruitful results, the mutual perceptions of both nations about each other have to be positively changed and diverted towards negotiation and cooperation by means of structural joint projects. Both countries should base their future development in the axis of the EU and particularly improve cooperation among the people in border regions and should provide necessary means of communication and make all legal arrangements to ease their relations in every field. For the short visits between the small islands on the Aegean and Turkey, visa requirement should be lifted and widespread. Moreover, legal arrangements are needed by the small business owners in the coastal regions, in line with their conditions and requirements. For instance, export of goods to the nearest island in the Aegean is made through the Pireous port. This causes extra bureaucracy and brings extra cost for small business, which in turn creates reluctance for cooperation. The border gates problem, which constitutes great handicap for transit transport between Turkey and Greece should be handled without delay and should be supported with common projects. In this respect common efforts under the framework of the EU and SECI, should be accelerated.


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“Agreement Between the Republic of Turkey and Hellenic Republic for the Avoidance of Double Taxation with Respect to Taxes on Income/ Türkiye Cumhuriyeti ile Yunanistan Cumhuriyeti Arasında Gelir Üzerinden Alınan Vergilerde Çifte Vergilendirmeyi Önleme Anlaşması”, (PS: There is amendment on the Agreement advertised in the Official Gazette dated 18 March 2004 numbered 25406) http://rega.basbakanlik.gov.tr/Eskiler/2004/03/20040302.htm ; (20 July 2004).

“Ankara Mesajı Aldı”, Cumhuriyet, 4 April 2001, pp.1-8.

“Ankara: Geri Adım Atmayız”, Hürriyet, 12 December 1999, pg.11.

“Atina’dan Olumlu Yanıt”, Cumhuriyet, 27 June 1999, p.11.

“Atina’ya Savaş Uyarısı”, Milliyet, 23 February 1999, p. 16.

“Border Disputes”, http://europa.eu.int/comm/enlargement/agenda2000/strong/22.htm ; (4 December 1999).

“Cem: AB’ye Muhtaç Değiliz”, Cumhuriyet, 9 December 1999, p. 9.

“Cooperation Between The Greek Natural Gas Company And The Turkish BOTAS”, http://www.phantis.gr/news/2001/01/22/20010122121025.html ; (16 March 2001).

“Greek-Turkish Relations: The Madrid Joint Declaration”, Thesis, Summer 1997. http://www.mfa.gr/thesis/summer97/section.html ; (2 March 1999).

“İktidara Açık Mektup”, Eksusia 9 July 1997, http://www.byegm.gov.tr/YAYINLARIMIZ/DISBASIN/1997/07/10x07x97.TXT   ; (20 June 2001).

“Information Note Concerning the Proposals Made By Turkey to Greece 12 February 1998 About A Process of Peaceful Settlement of Problems Over The Aegean Between The Two Countries”, Perceptions, March-May 1998, Volume III, Number 1.

“Joint Declaration on Turkey-Greece Cooperation in EU Matters-Ankara, April 6, 2001”, http://www.mfa.gov.tr/grupb/ba/baa01/April/default.htm#bm01    ; (30 April 2001).

“Karadeniz İçin İşbirliği”, Cumhuriyet, 3 April 2001, p.10.

“Koç-Türk-Yunan”, Radikal, 26 February 1999, http://www.radikal.com.tr/1999/02/26/ekonomi/02koc.html ; (20 June 2004).

“Liponnen’in Ecevit’e Tarihi Mektubu”, Hürriyet, 12 December 1999, p. 22. 

“Önyargılara Kapılmadan Apaçık”, Elefterotipia 9 July 1997, http://www.byegm.gov.tr/YAYINLARIMIZ/DISBASIN/1997/07/10x07x97.TXT  ; (20 June 2001).

“Papandreu: Tabuları Yıkalım” Cumhuriyet, 22 January 2000, p. 9.

“Patterns of Global Terrorism: 1999 Europe Overview”, http://www.state.gov/www/global/terrorism/1999report/europe.html ; (19 October 2000).

“Simitis IMF Koşullarını Öğrendi”, Cumhuriyet, 9 April 2001, p.11.

“Solana, Türkiye ve Yunanistan’ın Güven Arttırıcı Önlemler Konusunda Anlaştıklarını Belirtti”, Yunanistan’ın Sesi Radyosu, 5 June 1998; http://www.byegm.gov.tr/YAYINLARIMIZ/DISBASIN/1998/06/08x06x98.HTM# 6  ; (10April 2001).

 “The Law on the Measures Taken for the States, Within the Borders of Which Turkish Citizens are Allowed to Own Real Estate an in Reciprocity Principle and Same Privileges Granted to That State Citizens Within Turkey/ Hudutları Dahilinde Tebaamızın Emlakine Vaziyet Eden Devletlerin Türkiye’deki Tebaaları Emlakine Mukabelei Bilmisil Tedabiri İttihazı Hakkında Kanun”, http://proje.basbakanlik.gov.tr/mevzuat/liste.asp?MevzuatKod=1.3.1062  ;  (15 July 2004).

“Turkey – EU Financial Cooperation, April 2001”,  http://www.mfa.gov.tr/grupa/ad/adc/TR-EU.finan.coop.htm ; (25 April 2001).

“Türkiye ve Yunanistan, Ege Denizi'nde Askeri Bir Çatışma Çıkmasını Önleyecek Tedbirler Almayı Kararlaştırdılar”,  Amerika’nın Sesi Radyosu,  5 June 1998, http://www.byegm.gov.tr/YAYINLARIMIZ/DISBASIN/1998/06/08x06x98.HTM# 6  ; (10April 2001).

“Türkiye’yle İlgili IMF Belgesi Atina’ya Sızdı”, Hürriyet, 9 April 2001, p.9.

“TÜSİAD’dan, Yunanistan a Sert Tavır”, Cumhuriyet, 1 March 1999, pg.1

“Venizelos: Avrupalı Bir Türkiye İstiyoruz”, Dünya, 29 April 2001, http://www.dunyagazetesi.com.tr/news_display.asp?upsale_id=34636  ; (20 June 2004).

“Yunanistan Ekonomisi ve Türkiye ile İlişkileri (Ekim/October 1999)”, http://www.kobinet.org.tr/hizmetler/katilimci-kuruluşlar/vakiflar/yunanistan/sec03.html ; (22 February  2001).

http://www.deik.org.tr  

http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/greece.htm ; (30 March 2001).

http://www.mfa.gov.tr/grupb/ba/baa98/february/default.htm ;

http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/pgtrpt/2000/index.cfm?docid=2434 ; (15 May 2001).

http://www.tkgm.gov.tr/tapunet/atkgmgovtr/teskilatyapisi/teskilatsemasi/yabanciisdbsk.htm ; (16 March 2001).

http://www.treasury.gov.tr/stat/yabser/ybsstats.xls ;  (20 July 2004).

http://www.treasury.gov.tr/stat/yabser/ybsstats.xls ; (20 July 2004).

http://www.turkishgreek.org/bern.htm ; (19 June 2004).

http://www.turkishgreek.org/mektupla.htm ; (19 Feb.2002).

http://www.turkishgreek.org/mektupla.htm ; (19 June 2004).

http://www.turkishgreek.org/ypapulias.htm ; (19 June 2004).

http://www.yased.org.tr/\genel\docs\yabserfirmalar-2004.xls ; (20 July 2004).

http://www.yased.org.tr/\genel\docs\yabserfirmalar-2004.xls ; (20 July 2004). 

 

 

Footnotes


* Assist. Prof. Dr., Yıldız Technical University, Department of Political Science and International Relations.

[1] Here the concepts of “national sovereignty” and “vital interests” are taken up in the most common usage. In the scope of International Relations, the states being the major actors of the international arena are supposed to enjoy full independence within their definitely determined territorial borders. This is necessary for both domestic and international reasons in order to avoid confrontation among actors. This case is more vital between Turkey and Greece since during the negotiations of the Lausanne Peace Treaty, the issue of sovereignty over some territorial borders and particularly the demarcation of marine and coastal borders could not be fully determined. This has been also a matter of “vital interests” between them since the economic, military, commercial and environmental benefits (already maintained or to be maintained) of the two States, located on the opposite sides of the Aegean, are strictly in question. The case of unfair apportioning of such advantages to one or the other State, will no-doubt create conflict or increase chances of confrontation between the Two.

[2] J. Morrow, R. Siverson, and T. Tabares, "The Political Determinants of International Trade: The Major Powers 1907-1990", American Political Science Review, 92:3, pp. 649-661.  See, Vally Koubi, “Trade and Conflict”, (Economics and Politics Lecture Notes), http://www.vwi.unibe.ch/gast/koubi/ecpo/download/ecpo2001lecture8.pdf ; (30 July 2004).

On conflict and trade discussions, see, Rafael Reuveny, “The Trade and Conflict Debate: A Survey of Theory, Evidence and Future Research”, Peace Economics, Peace Sciences and Public Policy, Vol. 6, No. 1, Winter 1999-2000, pp.23-49.

[3] For example; when A. Stein drew attention to the link between trade and conflict, he pointed out that it was impossible to consider trade within visible features and added that there were political concerns within all political strategies and decisions. According to Stein there are two dimensions of trade being in contradiction within itself, that is, it can prevent conflict between states and also be the cause of conflict. Still states can use trade as a kind of deterrent and coercion factor. For further information on the topic,  see; Arthur A. Stein, “Trade and Conflict: Uncertainty, Strategic Signaling, and Interstate Disputes”, http://psweb.sbs.ohio-state.edu/faculty/bpollins/book/stein.pdf ; (July 2004).

[4] Example: Greece’s attempt to widen its territorial waters limit on the Aegean from 6 to 12 miles is both a violation of sovereignty rights and territories of coastal states and also the fair sharing of the economic sources of this sea. Therefore, it is difficult to maintain stability in the relations before the definite demarcation of their borderlines on the Aegean, which determine fully, the sovereignty limits of Turkey and Greece.

[5] Traditional conflict issues between Turkey and Greece are; minority problems, Cyprus and Aegean Sea issues including, territorial waters, continental shelf, FIR (Flight Information Regions) and national airspace, militarization of the islands. For further information on this topic, see, Fuat Aksu, Türk Yunan İlişkileri, Ankara: SAEMK Yayınları, 200l. 

[6] For more information on the topic, see, Faruk Sönmezoğlu, Türk-Yunan İlişkileri ve Büyük Güçler, Istanbul: Der Yayınları, 2000. 

[7] On this topic see, Thanos Veremis, “The Protracted Crises”, Greek – Turkish Relations in the Era of Globalization, (Eds.) Dimitris Kerides and Dimitrios Triantaphyllou, The IFPA – Kokkalis Series on South European Policy, 2001, pp. 42-55.

[8] Following the 12 September 1980 military intervention in Turkey, when the civil rule re-started, Prime Minister T. Özal stressed the need to focus on economic cooperation which could lead to the solution of other major conflict issues between Turkey and Greece. However, no solid step could be taken in this line for a long time. Only when the Davos process initiated, after the continental shelf crisis in 1987, Turkish-Greek Business Council was founded and a dialogue process could be started then. Here we should note that the efforts to improve economic cooperation were not meant to solve major conflict issues but at least to build up mutual confidence. Unfortunately, the attempts to enhance economic cooperation neither gave fruitful results nor could avoid more disputes to come up.

[9] For example Prime Minister Ecevit during an interview to the Greek Mega TV remarked: “Tension is growing in the region since Greece is making attempts against the territorial integrity and internal affairs of Turkey. Like in the case of Agathenisi only politicians can bring solutions to the problems, not journalists. In case Greece stops terrorist organizations to be active in Greece which threatens Turkey’s Unitarian State, a dialogue process can be started and relations can warm up soon. But, this dialogue should be started on all issues. Greece is asking to go to ICJ on all points of conflict. However we cannot do that right away even if we want to, because first we should determine together exactly on what items within the issues we differ.” Murat İlem, “Ecevit’ten Atina’ya ‘Dostca’ Uyarı”, Cumhuriyet, 18 June 1999, p. 8. 

[10] Moreover, particularly after Öcalan was sent away by Syria, when he asked for asylum from Greece, including the PASOK group in the parliament, all political parties approved the support of Öcalan, against Turkey. The tension was elevated between Turkey and Greece and due to the support of Öcalan, Greece was defined as a state supporting international terrorism. All these put Simitis into a very helpless position and his political movement area was highly delimited. Under these circumstances, when the direct ties of Foreign Minister Pangalos, Internal Minister Papadapulos and the Public Progress Minister Petsalnikos were uncovered, investigations were held against them and Simitis had to oust them from the government. For a detailed analysis on the same events, see, Joshua Black, “Greek Diplomacy and the Hunt for Abdullah Öcalan”, http://www.wws.princeton.edu/~cases/papers/greekdiplomacy.htm  ; (18 March 2003).

For detailed information on the Öcalan’s capture, PKK and Greece relations, see, Murat Yetkin, Kürt Kapanı: Şam’dan İmralı’ya Öcalan, İstanbul: Remzi Kitapevi, 2004, Fikret Bila, Satranç Tahtasında Yeni Hamleler Hangi PKK?, Ankara: Ümit Yayıncılık, 2004, Nur Batur, Yürekten Gülerekten Yürüdüm, İstanbul: Doğan Kitap, 2004.

[11] Greece’s approach on terrorism was frequently criticized in the USA Foreign Ministry’s yearly reports on terrorism. Also see, “Patterns of Global Terrorism: 1999 Europe Overview”, http://www.state.gov/www/global/terrorism/1999report/europe.html ; (19 October 2000); For the year 2000 review,   see; http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/pgtrpt/2000/index.cfm?docid=2434 ; (15 May 2001).

[12] President Demirel defined Greece as a “rogue state”, when Öcalan was kept in the Greek Embassy in Nairobi-Kenya. He made a call to the world to do the same, since he said: “Greece is caught on the very act of terrorism and is one of the greatest supporters of the PKK terrorism” and warned them: “In case Greece goes on with such terrorist attitude we will have to use our legal self-defense right.” “Such a state can only be called as rogue state, but we still wish to give them another chance and I once more invite Greek authorities to be more civilized and act in accordance with international legal commitments, like a state observing and respecting law should do. However if they happen to go on with their unlawful attitude, we will also have to consult to our preserved self-defense rights by the international law.” Mustafa Balbay, “Atina Terör Destekçisi” Cumhuriyet, 23 February 1999, pp.1-17;  “Atina’ya Savaş Uyarısı”, Milliyet, 23 February 1999, p. 16.

[13] During the confidence-building period, following the capture of Öcalan, it was expressed that Greece has started overcoming the threat conceptions bound to Turkey and it was stressed that the two States should decrease their defense budgets mutually. However, it would be too soon to consider a change in strategic dimensions, due to national interests and security priorities, because negotiations on basic conflict issues have not started yet, relevant to the sovereignty rights and national interest of both countries.

[14] It is a fact that Greece is not the only impediment in the EU-Turkey relations. For a different analysis on the issue, see, Mehmet Uğur, Avrupa Birliği ve Türkiye, İstanbul: Everest Yayınları, 2000.

[15] Before the Helsinki Summit in 1997 in Luxemburg, USA had warned Greece, to review its negative approach towards Turkey’s European identity. On the same topic, see, Niels Kadritzke, “Greece’s Earthquake Diplomacy”, Le Monde Diplomatique, 6 June 2000. http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/en/2000/06/06greece  ; (06 July 2000).

[16] Murat İlem, “Adaylığı Olumlu Karşılarız”, Cumhuriyet, 8 December 1999, p. 9.

[17] “Cem: AB’ye Muhtaç Değiliz”, Cumhuriyet, 9 December 1999, p. 9.

[18] “Liponnen’in Ecevit’e Tarihi Mektubu”, Hürriyet, 12 December 1999, p. 22. 

[19] Murat İlem, “Yunanistan Başbakanı Barışda Kararlı”, Cumhuriyet, 15 December 1999, p.9.

[20] “Ankara: Geri Adım Atmayız”, Hürriyet, 12 December 1999, p.11.

Vice President of Finland and the then President of the EU, in his letter to Ecevit, wrote:  “the year 2004, mentioned in the fourth paragraph, is the time when the European Council will review the situation and 2004 is not the deadline to take the disputes to the ICJ.

       As for the Cyprus issue, the EU prefers a political solution. During the discussions for Cyprus to be full member to the EU, all relevant factors will be considered before the Council comes to a decision”. “Liponnen’in Ecevit’e Tarihi Mektubu”, Hürriyet, 12 December 1999, p. 22.

[21] “Border Disputes”, http://europa.eu.int/comm/enlargement/agenda2000/strong/22.htm ; (4 December 1999).

[22] On the impact of the EU on Turkish-Greek relations, see, Fuat Aksu, “Ege ve Kıbrıs Sorunlarının Çözümünde Avrupa Birliği’nin Tutumu”, Staratejik Araştırmalar Dergisi, Year 2, Number 3, February 2004, pp. 103-132.

[23] Cyprus Greek Administration gained full membership to the EU during the Summit on 1 May 2004. Before this access a referendum was held both on the Turkish and Greek side of the island. The Greek Cypriots refused the “Annan Plan” (prepared for the unification of the island) by 76 % of the votes and Turkish Cypriots accepted the plan by 65 % of the votes. Despite this result, Greek Cyprus gained membership and the Cyprus question turned into a EU issue.

[24] “Papandreu: Tabuları Yıkalım” Cumhuriyet, 22 January 2000, p. 9.

[25] During the Helsinki Summit, Jurgen Reuter relates Greece’s objection to Turkey’s candidacy to such a cause that Greece might prefer Turkey to join the Union after complying with the Copenhagen Criteria, so that Turkey would profit more of it. He also indicates that the conflict issues between them should be considered as EU-Turkey issues rather than matters to be solved by Turkish-Greek dialogue.  See, Jürgen Reuter, “Resharping Greek-Turkish Relations: Developments Before and After the EU–Summit in Helsinki”,  http://www.eliamep.gr/Publications/Occasional_Papers/OP00.01.pdf  ; (15 May 2001). 

[26] This situation is heading to conclude that the interests of Greece and the EU match totally. Particularly the outer borders of the EU should reach to Eastern Mediterranean by Greece, upon the joining of Greek Cypriots to the Union, facilitating to a great extent the EU’s burden for such enlargement. On the same topic, see,  Seyfi Taşhan, “A Turkish Perspective on Europe-Turkey Relations on the Eve of the IGC”, Foreign Policy, Vol:XX N: 1-2 1996, pp.64-65.

[27] For an analysis under the same title, see, Fuat Aksu, “Türk-Yunan İlişkilerinde Güvenlik ve Güven Arttırma Çabaları”, Soğuk Savaş Sonrasında Avrupa ve Türkiye, (Ed.) Cem Karadeli, Ankara: Ayraç Yayınları, 2003, pp.242-275. 

[28] The side which gives rise to the climbing of conflict towards hot-clashes, forces the other side to make a choice between drawback or compromise. The climbing of conflict can be satisfactory only when the harmed side agrees to compromise. In case the threatening side outfaces every result, like war, and is reluctant for concession, under those circumstances, persuasive action should be tried. On the same topic, see, Kaarl W. Deutsch, The Analysis of International Relations, 2.nd ed. N.J.: Englewood Cliffs, 1978, pp. 139-164. ; James Daugherty and Robert L. Pfaltzgraff Jr., Contending Theories of International Relations, New York: Harper Collins, 1971, pp.345-356.

[29] Hot-confrontation risks broke up from time to time on the Aegean Sea continental shelf dispute and the attempts of hot-clashes were prevented by the Bern Declaration of 11 November 1976. The Declaration served as a kind of moratorium, preserving the legal, political and sovereignty rights and interests of the sides, bringing mutual commitments to avoid conflict. From this end, it can be included in confidence building measures. For the text of the Bern Declaration, www.turkishgreek.org/bern.htm

[30] For a critical approach to the Özal Era-Turkey’s Foreign Policy, see, İlhan Uzgel, Ulusal Çıkar ve Dış Politika, Ankara: İmge Yayınları, 2004.

[31] For his views on the topic, see, Ercüment Yavuzalp, Liderlerimiz ve Dış Politika, Ankara: Bilgi Yayınları, 1996, p. 267.

In his memories Yavuzalp remarks: ”For Özal priority had to be given to economic cooperation for the sake of better relations. If that could be realized financial interests would exert pressure on the political relations towards negotiation and when the nations witness the gains of economic cooperation, a more convenient ground could be maintained for the solution of political disputes”.

[32] The 1964 Decree will be taken up in detail later in the “Real Estate Acquisition of Greek Citizens in Turkey” section.

[33] For an analysis from the foreign press for the same period, see, Dış Basında Türk-Yunan Zirvesi, Ankara: T.C. Başbakanlık Basın Yayın ve Enformasyon Genel Müdürlüğü Yayını,  1988.

[34] For news appeared in foreign press, see, Dış Basında Türk-Yunan Ekonomik Komite Toplantıları (24-26 May 1988), Ankara: T.C. Başbakanlık Basın Yayın ve Enformasyon Genel Müdürlüğü Yayını, 1988.

It was observed that the sides were hesitant on whether the Davos Process would yield solid positive results in the short run. For instance Foreign Minister Mesut Yılmaz, while commenting on the subject remarked: “The Parties accepted before hand that the process would not create solid result at once. Both governments comprehend that this process will require long time, great effort and patience”, knowing that, taking distance would be time taking.

[35] For the full text of Athens Agreement dated 28 May 1988, concluded between Foreign Ministers Yılmaz and Papulias, see, http://www.turkishgreek.org/ypapulias.htm ; Dış Basında Dışişleri Bakanı A. Mesut Yılmaz’ın Atina Ziyareti (24-27.5.1988), Ankara: T.C. Başbakanlık Basın Yayın ve Enformasyon Genel Müdürlüğü Yayını, 1988, pp. 57-58.

[36] For the full text of “Guidelines for the Prevention of Accidents and Incidents on the High Seas and International Airspace”, see, Hulusi Kılıç (Ed.), Cumhuriyet Döneminde Türkiye ile Yunanistan Arasında İmzalanan İkili Anlaşmalar, Önemli Belgeler ve Bildiriler, Ankara: Dışişleri Bakanlığı Yayınları, 2000, p.328.

[37] On this topic, see, “Greek-Turkish Relations: The Madrid Joint Declaration”, Thesis, Summer 1997. http://www.mfa.gr/thesis/summer97/section.html ; (2 March 1999). Also for an analysis on the impact of the Madrid Declaration on Turkish-Greek Relations, see Gülden Ayman  “Türk-Yunan İlişkilerinde Güç ve Tehdit” in Türk Dış Politikasının Analizi, (Ed.) Faruk Sönmezoğlu, Istanbul: Der Yayınları, pp. 543-546.

[38] For the preparation stage of the Madrid Declaration, see, İsmail Cem, Türkiye Avrupa Avrasya, Volume 1, Istanbul: Bilgi Üniversitesi Yayınları, 2004, pp. 88-96.

[39] İsmail Cem explains the conditional reciprocity principle in the Madrid Declaration as follows: “The interpretation of the Declaration from diplomatic language to political was that the Greek side was not going to take decisions alone and would not be able to make unilateral attempts. Namely, they would not be able to enlarge their territorial water limit individually and put it into force… As for Turkey… she was not going threaten them. Here our “casus belli” approach to the attempt is meant. Turkey had declared before that an attempt to enlarge the territorial limits in the Aegean would be considered as “casus belli”. For which clause priority was to be given in the text gave rise to serious arguments. Naturally we insisted on the clause “refraining from unilateral attempts” to be included before. However in that case the clause “refraining from threat” came to be baseless and actually it gained meaning in our favor because “threat” was going to be in question only if Greece made a unilateral attempt. If they did not make a unilateral attempt, there would be no reason for threat or mentioning of “casus belli”. The main point was to refrain Greece from taking unilateral action.”  Cem, Türkiye Avrupa Avrasya…, pp. 92-93.

Madrid Declaration was in fact criticized in the parliament by the opposition deputies and by some deputies of the ruling PASOK government. The Declaration was interpreted as Greece’s drawing back its 12 miles claim in the Aegean. “Önyargılara Kapılmadan Apaçık”, Elefterotipia 9 July 1997; “İktidara Açık Mektup”, Eksusia 9 July 1997;  http://www.byegm.gov.tr/YAYINLARIMIZ/DISBASIN/1997/07/10x07x97.TXT  ; (20 June 2001).

[40]    See, “Information Note Concerning the Proposals Made By Turkey to Greece 12 February 1998 About A Process of Peaceful Settlement of Problems Over The Aegean Between The Two Countries”, Perceptions, March-May 1998, Volume III, Number 1.

For the proposal and Greece’s reply, see, http://www.mfa.gov.tr/grupb/ba/baa98/february/default.htm ; For an assessment on the proposals,   see, S. Gülden Ayman, “Türk – Yunan İlişkilerinde...,” pp. 545-546.

[41] Solana, Türkiye ve Yunanistan’ın Güven Arttırıcı Önlemler Konusunda Anlaştıklarını Belirtti”, Yunanistan’ın Sesi Radyosu, 5 June 1998; “Türkiye ve Yunanistan, Ege Denizi'nde Askeri Bir Çatışma Çıkmasını Önleyecek Tedbirler Almayı Kararlaştırdılar”,  Amerika’nın Sesi Radyosu,  5 June 1998.

http://www.byegm.gov.tr/YAYINLARIMIZ/DISBASIN/1998/06/08x06x98.HTM# 6 

[42] For the full text of the letter   see; http://www.turkishgreek.org/mektupla.htm ; (19 February 2002).

The then Turkish Foreign Minister İ. Cem indicates in his book that the exchange of letters between the two counterparts also contributed to the warming of relations.   See; Cem, Türkiye Avrupa ve Avrasya…, pp.120-127.

[43] It is meaningful that Papandreou in his reply expresses that an agreement should be worked out for the combat of terrorism between Turkey and Greece. İ. Cem in his memories also mentions this point: “Papandreou  due to the demand of public opinion and concerns of domestic stability, suggests that a number of agreements to dissolve matters of conflict should be considered rather than only one  and mentioning the combat of terrorism like one of the ordinary. No matter how, he had accepted our pre-condition.”  Cem, Türkiye, Avrupa, Avrasya…, p.123. On 5 August 2002, the agreement on terrorism, organized crime, drug trafficking and cooperation on the struggle against illegal migration came into force. However, Greece did not include PKK-KONGRA-GEL in its list of terrorist organizations and PKK carried on its activities in Greece for a long time after that which was another point of unrest. PKK-KADEK-KONGRA-GEL  was included in the list of terrorist organization of the European Council on 2 April 2004. Council Common Position 2004/309/CFSP of 2 April 2004 (Updating Common Position 2001/931/CFSP on the Application of Specific Measures to Combat Terrorism and Repealing Common Position 2003/906/CFSP),  http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/pri/en/oj/dat/2004/l_099/l_09920040403en00610064.pdf  ; (30 July 2004). For the full text of the letter, http://www.turkishgreek.org/mektupla.htm ; (19 June 2004).

Also see: “Atina’dan Olumlu Yanıt”, Cumhuriyet, 27 June 1999, p.11; Serpil Çevikcan, “Atina’dan Barış Paketi”, Milliyet, 29 June 1999, p.16.

[44] During Greek Foreign Minister G. Papandreou’s visit to Ankara on 19-22 January 2000, the following agreements were concluded between Turkey and Greece:

  • Agreement on Combating Crime, especially terrorism, organized crime, illicit drug trafficking and illegal immigration (came into force on July 17, 2001)
  • Agreement on reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investments (came into force on November 24, 2001)
  • Agreement on Cooperation in the field of Tourism (came into force on May 4, 2001)
  • Agreement on Cooperation on Environmental Protection (came into force on June 30, 2001)
  • Moreover, during T. Foreign Minister İ. Cem’s visit to Athens on 3-5 February 2000, the following agreements were concluded:
  • Agreement on Economic Cooperation (came into force on November 24, 2001)
  • Agreement on Cooperation in Science and Technology (came into force on May 4, 2001)
  • Agreement on Maritime Transport (came into force on August 19, 2001)
  • Agreement on Cultural Cooperation (came into force on July 19, 2001)
  • Agreement on Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between Customs Administrations (came into force on June 3, 2001)

For detail information about the all agreements, see, Kılıç, Cumhuriyet Döneminde…,

[45] In February 1999, when Öcalan was captured and Greece’s relevance was discovered in the event, Chairman of the Council Rahmi Koç resigned from his position in the Council and since then Şarık Tara took over. For information on Turkish Greek Business Council,  see, http://www.deik.org.tr  

When the Council was founded it was foreseen to proceed free from political impact. However this could not be achieved and the process was harmed by political tension. Particularly when Turkey reacted severely against states which offered safe haven to the PKK leader Öcalan, economic relations with those countries were suspended and even more trade-embargo was also in question. This reaction was interpreted as diverging from the founding principles of the Council. Turkish leading businessman R. Koç’s resignation from the Council was criticized in Greece due this contradiction.

On the same topic   See; “Koç-Türk-Yunan”, Radikal, 26 February 1999. http://www.radikal.com.tr/1999/02/26/ekonomi/02koc.html ; (20 June 2004).

[46] Faruk Şen, Ege’nin İki Yakasında Ekonomi, Ankara: Mülkiyeliler Birliği Vakfı Yayınları, 1987, pp. 19-21.

[47] For an analyze on the industrial and trade structures of Greek and Turkish economies see, Angelos Kotios and George Petrakos, “The Industrial and Trade Structure of the Greek and Turkish Economies: Possibilities for Cooperation”, http://www.prd.uth.gr/research/DP/2003/uth-prd-dp-2003-11_en.pdf ; (20 June 2004). For the distribution of export and import between Turkey and Greece according to years, see, Annex I.

[48] “Koç-Türk-Yunan”...,

[49] “TÜSİAD’dan, Yunanistan a Sert Tavır”, Cumhuriyet, 1 March 1999, p.1.

[50] Yorgo Kırbaki, “Yunanlı Patron Dertli”, Radikal, 21 March 1999.

[51] This practice is a unique example in the course of Turkish Foreign Policy where means of communication, national public opinion and foreign trade were used as deterrent factors. During the Öcalan crisis, he was kept for a while in Italy, which created extreme reaction in the Turkish Public Opinion and boycott was started against Italian goods. In 1998, imports from Italy was totaling to 4,222 billion $ but in 1999 this sum decreased by 24,4% and came to only 3,192 billion $. In 1999 Italy was the second big country in the list of imports of Turkey and Greece was the 25th. Within the total imports of Turkey (40,687 billion $) Italy’s share dropped from 9,8 to 7,8 %. In 2000 Italy started to rise again and ended the year with 4,305 billion $. The same year Turkey’s imports (53,983 billion $) increased by 8 %. These figures indicate that foreign trade was more deterrent in the case of Italy, but not that much for Greece.

[52] For the full text of the Agreement, see, Kılıç, Cumhuriyet Döneminde…, pp. 63-78.

[53] For a detailed analysis on the topic, see, Baskın Oran, Türk-Yunan İlişkilerinde Batı Trakya Sorunu, Ankara: Mülkiyeliler Birliği Vakfı Yayınları. 1986.

[54] For the fall in the trade figures during this stage, there can be the effect of 1964 Decree,  (according to that Greek citizen businessmen had to leave Turkey) as much as the pressure exerted on Turkish community in Cyprus.

[55] The branch of Olympic Airways founded in Istanbul in 1986, with 35 million TL capital.

http://www.yased.org.tr/\genel\docs\yabserfirmalar-2004.xls , (20 July 2004).

[56] For the list of foreign capital companies in Turkey, see, http://www.yased.org.tr/\genel\docs\yabserfirmalar-2004.xls

[57] For the comparative data of Greek capital companies among others leading commercial activities in Turkey, please see, http://www.treasury.gov.tr/stat/yabser/ybsstats.xls ; (20 July 2004).

As will be observed, though most of the Greek capital companies are led by Greek people, they also have Turkish partners. The number of companies completely led by Greek people and Greek capital are not so many.

[58] Data on direct investments is said to be limited. “Both countries enter into direct investment through third parties, accordingly it is difficult reach definite information on Turkish investment in Greece, and Greek investment in Turkey”, “Yunanistan Ekonomisi ve Türkiye ile İlişkileri (Ekim/October 1999)”, http://www.kobinet.org.tr/hizmetler/katilimci-kuruluşlar/vakiflar/yunanistan/sec03.html ; (22 February  2001).

[59] For relevant data, see, http://www.treasury.gov.tr/stat/yabser/ybsstats.xls ;  (20 July 2004).

[60] The 1964 Decree was put into force depending on: “The Law on the Measures Taken for the States, Within the Borders of Which Turkish Citizens are Allowed to Own Real Estate an in Reciprocity Principle and Same Privileges Granted to That State Citizens Within Turkey/ Hudutları Dahilinde Tebaamızın Emlakine Vaziyet Eden Devletlerin Türkiye’deki Tebaaları Emlakine Mukabelei Bilmisil Tedabiri İttihazı Hakkında Kanun”, For the full text of the Law, see, http://proje.basbakanlik.gov.tr/mevzuat/liste.asp?MevzuatKod=1.3.1062  ;  (15 July 2004).

According to Article 1 of the Law:

“In case property law of the Turkish citizens in a State, is partly or completely delimited by administrative decisions or exceptional laws, under the reciprocity principle, the same property law granted for their citizens in Turkey can be partly or completely limited and confiscated by the Council of Ministers.”

Successive income gained from the properties due to the liquidation will be paid to the dispossessed Turkish citizens upon the presentation of veritable documents”. [Unofficial translation] When Greek Government delimited the property rights of the Turkish citizens in Greece upon the Cyprus incidents in 1963-64, Turkey also had to take similar reciprocal measures on the Greek citizens in accordance with a/m Law. This measure was a political action and would be exempted from prosecution and was ratified by the Council of State too.

Residence of foreigners and rights granted to them for owning real estate in Turkey plus the application of the reciprocity principle were included in the Articles 1 and 3 of the Convention Respecting Conditions of Residence and Jurisdiction in the Lausanne Peace Treaty. Therefore, the provisions of the Law dated 28 May 1972, numbered 1062, should be interpreted within that frame.

According to Article 1 of the Convention: “The application in Turkey of each of the provisions of this Chapter to nationals and corporations of the other Contracting Powers is expressly subject to complete reciprocity being accorded to Turkish nationals and corporations in the territories of the said Powers.

Should one of these Powers refuse, in consequence of a provision in its law or for another reason, to accord reciprocity in respect of any such provision, its nationals and corporations will not be entitled to benefit by such provision in Turkey.”

In accordance with Article 3: “In Turkey the nationals of the other Contracting Powers will have the right to acquire, to possess and to dispose of all kinds of property both movable and immovable, subject to compliance with the local laws and regulations; they will in particular be able to dispose thereof by sale, exchange, gift, testamentary disposition, or in any other way, and to take possession by inheritance in accordance with the law, or under dispositions inter vivos or by will.” (For Turkish, see.) Seha Meray, Lozan Barış Konferansı, Tutanaklar-Belgeler, Takım II, Cilt II, Istanbul: YKY Yayınları, 2001, pp.65-66. 

[61] E. Levent Şahin, “Vatandaşlık Hukuku ve Yabancıların Taşınmazmal Edinmesi”, http://www.milliemlak.gov.tr/kontkur/internet_dergi/ucuncu_sayi/yabancilarin_mal_edinimi.doc ; (19 July 2004).

[62] As far as the information received from the General Directorate of Land Registry and Cadastre of Turkey, “The Council of Ministers expressed what should be understood from the reciprocity principle in its decision dated May 29, 1940 and numbered 2/13394. According to this decision, in addition to legislative regulation of reciprocity principle, practical applicability of it is also required for its existence. By this decision, in which it's taken into consideration that reciprocity in law will not indicate actual situation, restrictions encountered in a foreign country by the citizens of the Republic of Turkey, in case of their application, are wanted to be taken as a basis in implementation of reciprocity. Therefore, for the existence of reciprocity between our country and a foreign country about real estate acquisition, reciprocity must be both in law and in practice. According to this principle, for real estate acquisition of a foreign country's citizen or trade company in our country, the citizens and trade companies of the Republic of Turkey should also have the right to acquire real estate in this foreign country and this right must be accepted by laws and must be practically applicable.”

The delimitations of Greece applied to people of Turkish origin under Turkish nationality and to the Turkish minority there, forced Turkey to act in the same manner towards counter-groups in Turkey. No doubt, this situation could create negative impact on the efforts for cooperation and the recovery of the relations between Turkey and Greece and negatively influence the progress of relations based on mutual confidence. In fact, within the arguments on Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul, the Turkish media brought up concerns about Greek people buying real estate mostly in the “Fener” region where Orthodox Patriarchate is located.

Regarding the reciprocity principle, see, http://www.tkgm.gov.tr/tapunet/atkgmgovtr/teskilatyapisi/teskilatsemasi/yabanciisdbsk.htm ; (16 March 2001).

[63] “Cooperation Between The Greek Natural Gas Company And The Turkish BOTAS”, http://www.phantis.gr/news/2001/01/22/20010122121025.html ; (16 March 2001).

[64]  See, http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/greece.htm ; (30 March 2001).

[65] Leyla Tavşanoğlu, “Ege’nin İki Yakası Birleşiyor”, Cumhuriyet, 30 April  2001, p.9.

[66] The Agreement will come into force on 1 January 2005. For the full text of the Agreement, see, “Agreement Between the Republic of Turkey and Hellenic Republic for the Avoidance of Double Taxation with Respect to Taxes on Income/ Türkiye Cumhuriyeti ile Yunanistan Cumhuriyeti Arasında Gelir Üzerinden Alınan Vergilerde Çifte Vergilendirmeyi Önleme Anlaşması”, (PS: There is amendment on the Agreement advertised in the Official Gazette dated 18 March 2004 numbered 25406) http://rega.basbakanlik.gov.tr/Eskiler/2004/03/20040302.htm ; (20 July 2004).

[67] During negotiations with IMF the fact that Turkey might delimit its military expenses was mentioned and Greece having heard of such a plan considered to do the same. This information had leaked into the media and gave rise to reaction in Turkey. According to the leaked information, Turkey had accepted to lower the share of its military expenses for the sake of increase in its GNP (in 2002 from 4,6 % to 3,5 %), “Türkiye’yle İlgili IMF Belgesi Atina’ya Sızdı”, Hürriyet, 9 April 2001, p.9 ; “Simitis IMF Koşullarını Öğrendi”, Cumhuriyet, 9 April 2001, p.11.

Besides before the meeting with İ. Cem on 5-6 April 2001, Papandreou told the press that Turkey and Greece should mutually delimit their military expenses and such suggestions were met with precaution in Turkey. In this context, Greece declared they had suspended the 4,4 billion $, Eurofighter project. “Ankara Mesajı Aldı”, Cumhuriyet, 4 April 2001, pp.1-8 ; Sami Kohen, “Kriz Fırsat Olabilir…”, Milliyet, 4 April 2001, p.10 ; Özgen Acar, “Silahlanma Askıya Alınıyor”, Cumhuriyet, 3 April 2001, p. 10.

[68] Selim Alpaslan, “Barış Mesajı”, Cumhuriyet, 3 April 2001, pp. 1-19.

[69] Greek Cultural Affairs Minister, in his opening speech at the Turkish-Greek Business Council Meeting, made comment on the recent progress in Turkish economy and stressed that the conjuncture prepared new opportunities for investors and added: “Third aid package from the EU will be spared to cover our expenses for the 2004 Olympic games. Before the Games in Athens, World Cultural Olympics will be held and we consider both as a giant Europe Project and we wish Turkey and Turkish economy to take part in the Project”.

Also the Turkish-Greek Business Council Co-President, P. Koutsikos, in his speech stressed on the visible progress in Turkish economy and said: “Last year Turkey came second in the list of Greece’s export markets. In 2001 we expect Turkey to be in the 3rd or the 4th row. This result is important for Greece. We hope Turkish economy re-gain stability soon”. “Venizelos: Avrupalı Bir Türkiye İstiyoruz”, Dünya, 29 April 2001,  http://www.dunyagazetesi.com.tr/news_display.asp?upsale_id=34636  ; (20 June 2004).

[70] For instance Greece used its veto and tried to stop the release of the following sums in favor of Turkey;

During 1982-1986, 600 million Euro (due with the 4th Finance Protocol)

During 1996-2000, the planned loan of 375 million Euro/ECU from the EU Budget,

Also in the same term, the release of the loan by the European Investment Bank totaling to 750 million Euro/ECU.  For the financial cooperation between Turkey and the EU in periodic order.  See, “Turkey – EU Financial Cooperation, April 2001”,  http://www.mfa.gov.tr/grupa/ad/adc/TR-EU.finan.coop.htm ; (25 April 2001).

[71] As stated in the Joint Declaration, two seminars were given to the officials of the Ministry of Finance and Customs Under Secretariat, first in July 2000 in Athens and the second in Istanbul on 30 January-3 February 2001. On 5-6 October 2000 another seminar was held on judicial cooperation and basic EU Law was discussed, relations between the EU Law System and national-legal applications and regulations were tried to be cleared. In the seminar held in Crete between 30 October and 4 November 2000, agricultural information was given to the officials from Turkish Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Foreign Trade Under Secretariat. On 19-20 March 2001 another one was held in Athens and explanatory information was given  to the Turkish officials from the General Directorate of Security and General Command of Gendarmerie, on the “police cooperation issues” of Shengen, EUROPOL and Sirenne. It was also stressed that such cooperative and informatory seminars would be continued for Turkey’s integration process into the EU and Greece would go on sharing its experience with Turkey. On this topic, see, “Joint Declaration on Turkey-Greece Cooperation in EU Matters-Ankara, April 6, 2001”, http://www.mfa.gov.tr/grupb/ba/baa01/April/default.htm#bm01 ; (30 April 2001).

[72] For the economic, political and military roles which can be collectively carried out by Turkey and Greece, see, Fuat Aksu, “Confidence, Security and Conflict Resolution Initiatives in the Balkans”, Turkish Review of Balkan Studies, Annual 2003, pp.41-85.

[73] M. Kurbela, “AB Üyeliği İçin Deneyim Transferi”, Cooperation, Number 1, February 2001, p.30.

[74] For an assessment on the cooperation efforts among Balkan countries, see, Fuat Aksu, “Sınır Bölgelerinin Kalkınmasına Yönelik Sınır Ötesi Staratejiler ve Balkanlarda Entegrasyon Cabaları” İktisat, İşletme ve Finans, November 2001, Number 187, pp.67-84.

[75] In fact, among the coastal states of the Black Sea, a regional attempt was considered on issues for; search and rescue in the sea, humanitarian aid, measures against mines and protection of environment, and BLACKSEAFOR (Black Sea Naval Cooperation Task Force) was founded in the framework of BSEC. The agreement was signed by Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and Georgia in Istanbul, in April 2001.    See,  “Karadeniz İçin İşbirliği”, Cumhuriyet, 3 April 2001, p.10.

[76] For the Agreement in question, see, “Agreement Between the Republic of Turkey and Hellenic Republic Concerning the Realization of the Turkey-Greece Gas Interconnector and the Supply of Natural Gas from the Republic of Turkey to the Hellenic Republic/ Türkiye Cumhuriyeti ile Yunanistan Cumhuriyeti Arasında, Türkiye-Yunanistan Gaz Bağlantısının Gerçekleştirilmesi ve Türkiye Cumhuriyeti’nden Yunanistan Cumhuriyeti’ne Doğalgaz Arzına İlişkin Anlaşma” http://rega.basbakanlik.gov.tr/Eskiler/2004/02/20040217.htm#15

Okunma 1270 kez Son Düzenlenme Pazar, 22 Nisan 2018 08:35
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