Post Cold War European Security Relations With Turkey And Greece

Essay by bareturtUniversity, Master'sA+, January 2009

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Post Cold War European Security Relations With Turkey And GreeceTurkey as part of the European security systemDuring the Cold War, Turkey played a critical role as part of the barrier protecting the West from Soviet advance on the southeastern flank of the alliance, but even then the culture of NATO tended to "central frontism". This concentration on the problems of the Central Front failed to credit Turkey with the role it played in "locking up" 24 Soviet divisions which would otherwise have made an addition to the direct threat to Western Europe. On 27 September 1989, only weeks before the fall of the Berlin Wall, the then Turkish Prime Minister, Turgut Özal, addressing the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe could appeal for a fundamental change of attitude to Turkish membership of the European Union, claiming that as Turkey had shared for forty years the burden of the defence of Europe against communism, it should share the benefits of European economic growth.

In fact, everything that has happened since then has widened the gap between Western Europe and Turkey and reduced the perception in both Turkey and Western Europe that they are in the same security system. Whoever else has enjoyed a European "peace dividend" since 1989, it has not been Turkey. Indeed the post-Cold War developments have distanced Turkey from Western Europe in two different ways. The proposed enlargement of the Union to include the Central and Eastern European countries is argued for in part as a means of strengthening European security by including these countries in the Deutschian "security community" 1 which has been established among the members of the European Union. The ten candidate countries of Central and Eastern Europe have taken priority over Turkey in the queue for European Union membership, and that has...