We are pleased to announce the publication of the first papers of the
collaborative Turkish-Greek study projects within the framework of the Dialog/Διάλογος/Diyalog/Dialogue initiative.
This joint effort by the Center for International and European Studies (CIES) at Kadir Has University; the Department of International, European and Area Studies at the Panteion University of Athens, and the Istanbul office of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, is aimed to encourage and support young Turkish and Greek scholars, analysts, journalists and others to developed and write together a research/policy paper which highlights an area of common ground and cooperation between Greece and Turkey.
Towards the end of February 2020, tens of thousands of people headed to the Greek-Turkish border at Evros/Meriç, after Turkish authorities announced that they would no longer be preventing refugees and migrants from crossing the border into the EU. In reaction to this situation, the Greek authorities responded by closing the borders and announcing that they would not allow people to seek asylum in Greece and would be sending them back to Turkey. Widespread disinformation and the arrival of thousands of migrants in a few days caused tensions at the border, creating a new migration crisis along the Evros/Meriç border, being the top story for more than a week on the media agenda. However, the media agenda changed when the Covid-19 pandemic became alarming for both countries. This paper seeks to unveil how the Greek and the Turkish media covered the crisis, which took place at the border zone between 28 February and 11 March 2020. For this purpose, news items from eight news portals, both pro- government and the opposition, from Greece (kathimerini.gr, eleftherostypos.gr, efsyn.gr, tanea.gr) and Turkey (sabah.com.tr, sozcu.com.tr, hurriyet.com.tr, T24.com.tr) were selected and analyzed in a codebook. The empirical work, which is based on content analysis, aims to assess the media coverage of the two countries during the crisis, by answering the research question: “How do Greek and Turkish news portals portray the migration crisis at the Evros/Meriç River?”
Greek-Turkish relations have been experiencing yet another turbulent and challenging time. Driven mainly by the regional conflicts and historical representations of the “other”, the publics of both sides are also negatively affected by the ongoing tense relationship. However, not much attention has been given to the role of youth in enhancing trust in Greek-Turkish relations. This paper proposes that by increasing the role of youth in bilateral relations, both countries will have more common ground to cooperate and negotiate instead of competing with each other. To understand why youth can play such a role in improving bilateral relations, we first aim at determining what youth think about Greek-Turkish relations in general. Secondly, we will focus on the factors that can contribute to better relations among youth. In this study, to consolidate our aims, a survey was distributed to all the participants of the annual Greek-Turkish Young Leaders Symposium (GTYLS). GTYLS participants’ perceptions of Greek-Turkish relations were meant to provide an overview from the perspective of youth. Additionally, based on the survey results, the impact of the Symposium on the participants’ perceptions of communities is observed on three themes: Trust, Empathy, and Future contact intention to understand the influence of the GTYLS on participants. With regard to the analysis and guided by the survey results, this study provides a number of requisite policy recommendations.
Claiming the Glory of the Covid-19 Vaccine: Lessons for Better Societies via a Success Story Nearly Lost in Translation by Mary Drosopulos and Jegar Delal Tayip
The BioNTech-Pfizer cooperation has led to the invention of a revolutionary vaccine against covid-19, upon which many countries of the world have based their hopes for a gradual salvation from an unprecedented global pandemic. At a scientific level, this is a formidable achievement marking a new era for humanity. At a human level, the story of the people who contributed to this prodigious step, is a bright example of Greek- Turkish friendship developed in a German context. Dr. Şahin and Dr. Bourla, respectively, scientists of an immigrant background, joined forces and produced a vaccine which has been delivered to European countries, with Greece being among the first to have received doses. The international media has hailed this remarkable story of scientific success, highlighting, also, its human aspect, illustrating the fruit of Greek-Turkish cooperation as a paradigm of a successful outcome despite bilateral antagonism and cultural constraints. This has not been the case, however, with the Greek and Turkish media. What has been celebrated on American or European media as an example of ‘Greek-Turkish friendship’, has been manipulated or distorted by Greek and Turkish news. The vaccine story has either been depicted as a ‘made in Germany’ accomplishment, or has been presented one-sidedly, aimed at generating national pride by focusing only on the existence of the one partner and silencing the existence of the other. What is even more interesting is, how, in some cases, the same piece of information, coming from a foreign original source, has been translated into Greek and Turkish, respectively, in a way that conveys different messages, directing, thus, the readers’ attention into the elements that each country prioritizes as more important or more appropriate for its audience. If seen, however, in its real and full dimension, not only at a scientific, but also at a social-cultural level, the story behind the vaccine is a fascinating illustration of how, given the right conditions and opportunities, scientists coming from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, can thrive together and serve science and humanity.
Breaking Down Barriers: Trust-building Through the Mobility of Academic Elite Between Greece and Turkey by Nur Sinem Kourou, Müge Dalkıran, and Antonios Alexandridis
This proposed research study aims to shed light on the role of academic mobility in the development of relations between Turkey and Greece by focusing on junior and senior participants' experiences from both countries. Examining the literature on the mobility of academics worldwide shows that academic cooperation between two or more countries, at global, regional regional, or bilateral levels, has been utilized to raise mutual understanding and enhance awareness and recognition towards each other. One of the academic mobility outcomes is to improve trust between the states by conducting their research. The exchange of knowledge, experience, culture, and language between parties and fostering intercultural dialogue become critical "soft" indicators in the building of trust between them. Therefore, it is critical to understand how mobile academics connect with local people, researchers, and NGOs in the host country. Drawing from those experiences, we intend to examine how the mobility of academics between Greece and Turkey enables trust- building and consolidates the relations between them, especially in this current period of turbulence in the relations between the two states.
Avoiding Disaster in the Eastern Mediterranean: A Latent Tension Index for Greek-Turkish Relations by Ioannis Choulis, Selin Siviş and Marius Mehr
The contemporary history of Greek-Turkish relations is marked by persistent tensions which, following gas discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean, nearly escalated into a full-scale military conflict in August 2020. While outside mediation has resulted in limited rapprochement since then, both sides have also continued their hostile rhetoric and posturing, risking re-escalation. To facilitate enduring trust-building and de-escalation between the parties, it is necessary to measure and monitor the latent tension between Turkey and Greece in a real-time and transparent fashion. We present a novel tension index developed for this purpose. In order to provide a comprehensive measure of Greek- Turkish tensions, the index combines publicly available information on aerial and naval incursions, arms imports, and bilateral exploratory talks. In addition to developing the theoretical and empirical basis of the index, the project also triangulates it qualitatively against news reporting in both the Turkish and Greek media and illustrates its use by examining the quantitative relationship between Greek-Turkish tension and bilateral trade. As a transparent, real-time, and neutral measure of latent tensions between Turkey and Greece, the index will thus serve as a neutral crisis early-warning system for stakeholders in both countries, facilitating trust-building and cooperation between the two parties.
The Missing 50%: Women in Trust-Building, Crisis Diplomacy and Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution in Greece - Turkey Relations by Yvonni Efstathiou and Polen Türkmen
Acknowledging the vital role of women in conflict prevention and given the current urgency in fostering a mechanism to ease tensions between Greece and Turkey, this policy paper argues for 1) the inclusion of Greek and Turkish women and 2) the adoption of a gender dimension, in all diplomatic and grass roots efforts. The paper provides a literature review on the role of women in peace and security, before it examines their participation in the Greek-Turkish context. It will assess women’s participation in diplomatic efforts since 1996, examining whether they have occupied a prominent role in government, embassies, or official negotiations. It will also discuss a case study of a female-led peace and security related civil society organization for Turkish-Greek relations to discover best practices in trust-building activities. Ultimately, this policy paper aims to contribute to the discussion on the missing role of women from both Greece and Turkey in official relations. It also provides some concrete recommendations on how to better include women in conflict prevention, management, and resolution.