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Given the continuing attention to their disputes over Cyprus, the Aegean Sea, and other issues, it may seem paradoxical to speak of opportunities for improvement in the bilateral relationship between Greece and Turkey.
After all, recent headlines over frustrated negotiation efforts in Cyprus, new Turkish assertions over Greek sovereignty in the Aegean Sea, and the continuing armament acquisition programs in both Greece and Turkey seem to confirm that the Greek-Turkish relationship is hopelessly deadlocked in diplomatic tension and rhetorical antagonism.
Political Aspects of the Dispute
From the outset of the Imia crisis Greece has asked the Turkish government to affirm officially and unequivocally its adherence to three fundamental principles that guide relations among all civilized nations:
that it respects international law and treaties;
that it condemns the use of force or the threat of such use in relations between nations; and
that the country raising novel territorial claims -- in this case, Turkey -- must seek their resolution by peaceful means, under international law, at the International Court of Justice.
Among world nations today, these principles are self-evident. Any country that finds it difficult to state its unequivocal acceptance of them is a country that questions the very basis upon which peaceful relations among nations are built.
Unfortunately, in the past two months Turkey has consistently refused to make even these minimal and self-evident commitments. Its refusal persisted in the face of constant efforts by a number of Greece's European Union partners, as well as the United States, urging Turkey to do just that. On March 25, 1996, the Turkish government refused to commit itself to similar principles, which had previously been incorporated in the draft Common Position of the EU Foreign Ministers. As a consequence, the Council of Ministers had to postpone for the near future the scheduled EU-Turkey Association Council.
While the danger of a major armed confrontation between Greece and Turkey is becoming increasingly real, the United States and other NATO countries are continuing to arm both sides in the conflict. Jeopardising efforts by the US Department of State to de-escalate tensions between the long-time adversaries, the US Department of Defense is continuing to authorise transfers of advanced offensive weapons to both countries.
The long-standing arms race between Greece and Turkey continues to spiral. Together, they already have a larger tank fleet than the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy combined. Last year, both countries also announced massive procurement programmes for their armed forces (see Tables 2.3 and 2.4). Greece has unveiled plans to spend $24 billion over the next eight years. Turkey has committed to a $31 billion expenditure over the next decade in the first stage of a massive modernisation programme expected to reach nearly $150 billion over the next 25 to 30 years.
The Cyprus Forum believes that a lasting solution can be found only through a commitment to union. The following ten point peace plan envisions the establishment of a united Cyprus with a government which encourages economic growth and protects the rights and culture of every citizen of the island.
Allow The Turkish Army to remain for five years. The Turkish military forces in Cyprus would be restricted to a military base in Cyprus. This military base will be leased to Turkey for the next five years. A small group of Turkish and Greek army officers will become consultants to the Cypriot Army. That will build trust among all groups involved. A multinational force, comprised of units from the armies of neutral nations would be responsible for peace-keeping functions and ensuring that all provisions of a permanent settlement are implemented.
Establish a Ministry of Turkish-Cypriot Affairs, which would be given a guaranteed budget. The budget would be established at a certain percentage of the gross national product. This guarantees that the majority is not ignoring the minority.
Originally posted by xSMOKING_GUNx
It would also be interesting to hear from anyone who thinks there maybe links to the 23rd and 24th of may incidents that the media is not implicating.