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Greece-Turkey
 

 Antagonists

Greek government

Turkish government

Albania

Macedonia

Status

Potential

Connections

EuropeWars

Levant

Cyprus

Explanation

Since the Greeks of the Byzantine Empire were conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1453 there has been a state of constant hostility.

At present there is tension

  • 1) over the status of Cyprus, where Turkey occupied part of the island, which many Greeks regard as a Greek territory. The Greek government would like the Turks to remove their troops. This is unlikely to occur. In August 1996 this dispute seemed to be reviving when Greek Cypriots tried to enter the Turkish zone. In January 2002 there are talks between the two parts of the island, about Cyprus's application to join the EU.
  • 2) Another source of tension is over the status of the Aegean Sea in which there are a number of Greek Islands, part of the Greek State, but close to the coast of Turkey. Both would like to drill for oil exploration. The Greeks claim all the sea as an economic zone. The Turks dispute this. (With luck, there will be no oil).
  • 3) A third source of tension is Turkey's activities in the Gulf War which the Greeks fear will increase Turkey's power, and possibly, land area. Turkey is also increasing its influence in the former Soviet Union's Turkic republics of Uzbekistan, Turkmenia and Azerbaijan.

    The membership in NATO of both states may keep these tensions from breaking into open war, but active hostility has nearly occurred on several occasions. It seems unlikely in future but by no means impossible.

  • 4) Macedonia. Greeks believe the name belongs to them and must not be used by Slavs. There seems to have been a tacit alliance with Serbia against Macedonia, Turkey and, implicitly, Albania.
  • 5) Albania There is a pressure of immigrants from Albania into Greece - and therefore the European Union.

In recent years tension between Greece and Turkey seems genuinely to have reduced, especially over Cyprus and the Balkan problems with Macedonia also have diminished. However, Turkey still supports the regime of northern Cyprus.

Last revised 31/07/10


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