The Greek-Turkish relations in the NATO Alliance amid a common crisis plan in future threats


Ioanna Georgia Eskiadi - Arin Demir

 

The current paper aims to analyze, examine, define and provide recommendations for a common crisis plan between Greece and Turkey to confront future threats and provide stability in the region. Under the NATO Alliance, the two countries can be an example of bilateral ties of NATO 2030 and leave behind the long-standing disputes. Also, this can function in the new environment of NATO 2030 strategic concept and modernize the Alliance. The two countries in order to counteract future threats need to have a common crisis management and communication plan so as to fight disinformation and the instability. The current paper finally will come to some recommendations on how the proposed common strategy can be implemented.

Greek-Turkish relations within NATO

The relations between Greece and Turkey the last few years have been characterized by instant tension and dispute amid the Aegean Sea. It’s out of great importance the significance of NATO that provides a common place of discussion and dialogue between the representatives of the two countries. From 1952 when the two countries joined NATO, a lot of tension is present, but conflicts have been avoided due to the common ground of discussion. The conflict between the two countries on maritime boundaries is not new. The two countries have followed an aggressive policy, based on substantive claims, creating a distinct malaise within NATO. NATO can take the lead in establishing the mechanisms that will prevent the repeat of these types of accidents which can lead to dangerous and unwanted escalation (Rehman and Abbas, 2020: 16).

New Strategic Concept Creates an Indispensable Opportunity for Restoring Bilateral Ties

The strategic concept’s crisis prevention and communication tasks are the most critical components for building a robust consensus not only out of the alliance from Asia to the Middle East but also within the alliance against Russia’s movements that undermine international law and norms. A broader discussion on the subject is essential to make it more resilient where the internal relations of the Transatlantic alliance is a target for manipulation by authoritarian countries such as Russia and China.

Russia does not have sufficient military, political and economic capacity against the alliance, therefore it implements a political strategy to create fractures within NATO and weaken member relations. As part of this strategy, many Russian media services have been fabricating news and conducting media operations in ally nations. For instance, Eurasian media platforms fabricated news in the Turkish media pertinent to the acquirement of the S-400 missile systems while concurrently publishing consistent fake news regarding the negotiations of American-made MIM-104 Patriots. As a real-life example, the implications of that media operation regarding the purchase of the S-400 decision showed how much communication plans between the allies could be vital on the crises prevention and formation of foreign policy orientations.

 

Both nations resemble each other in many aspects, particularly in regard to emotional ways of approaching issues

 

Media campaigns are also effective in the direction of Turkey – Greece relations where it is prone to fracturing within the transatlantic community. As the cohort members of NATO PDD’s Greek-Turkish Young Leaders Symposium (GTYLS) on Security, we have experienced with our fellows from two sides that both nations resemble each other in many aspects, particularly in regard to emotional ways of approaching issues. Such an approach can even evolve into the avoidance of rational public debates pertinent to Greek – Turkey relations. Most of the time, this emotionalism can be fueled by the fabricated news disseminated by media platforms tied to Eurasianism ideology or short-term political gains of political parties to consolidate their voters before elections.

 

As like today, there is an ongoing debate in the political elite level in Turkey and Greece where bilateral ties are being undermined by populist discourses based on hollow nationalism, which paves the way to form a fracture in the Transatlantic Community while Ukraine is brutally being attacked by Russia. NATO's definition of a transatlantic forum in the new concept opens up great opportunities for the good governance of Turkish-Greek relations. This could repair or prevent unnecessary tensions with enhancing political dialogue and practical cooperation among alliance or for the two nations by defining NATO as a transatlantic forum for consultations and coordination.In other words, it would be instrumental for the crisis prevention and communication plans.

 

 

NATO, as a transatlantic forum with its democratic values and technical standards, can constitute a platform

 

In the scope of bilateral ties, the worst impact of such misinformation and disinformation campaigns emerges with the elimination of technical debates. Additionally, the media campaign implemented mainly by Russian media bases agitates both sides' nationalistic emotions. NATO, as a transatlantic forum with its democratic values and technical standards, can constitute a platform that hinder crises where two sides do their discussions, whether negative or positive in agendas, publicly or in a closed way. As a consequence of the technical framework in the basis of NATO, dialogues established between countries would increase the coordination of the Transatlantic at the regional and global levels. At the same time, it contributes to the reconstruction of the center of communication style towards technical rhetoric rather than sentimental. The rebuilding of the center of the communication impedes the possible crises on the borders of the Aegean Sea.

 

Common crisis management/communication plan to fight disinformation

“It is imperative that this crisis is resolved. Only the Kremlin benefits from two NATO allies confronting each other in this way. More attention by NATO is needed in the region and more understanding for the challenges that immigrants and Russian malign influence pose to Turkey and Greece” (Rehman and Abbas, 2020:10-12). Through the cooperation the two countries can defeat and respond in future crisis events under a common plan. The two countries due to the region, their proximity and the common cultural values can communicate, build a dialogue and a partnership within the NATO 2030 Strategic Concept and prepare a common crisis plan. A great example of collaboration is the immigration issue.

More specifically, the two countries over the last months have welcomed a lot of immigrants from Ukraine under a common crisis plan they could better organize, disseminate, evacuate and provide solutions for a better placement for all of them. Promoting and enhancing the cooperation between the two countries can avoid a potential “accident” and provide a framework of de-escalation. The region is influenced by disinformation from one side to the other and nationalistic movements leading to misrepresentation of the other and hinder each effort for resilience in the society. Social media and generally the digital communication as it has been structured can function as a common place of crisis communication and dialogue. Another example is the “earthquake diplomacy” between the two countries during the earthquakes that happen in the Aegean Sea the last few years. NATO can take the lead in establishing the mechanisms that will prevent the repeat of these types of accidents which can lead to dangerous and unwanted escalation.

Policy Recommendations

The common crisis plan and management can be an example for a greater Euro-Atlantic stability leading to important global stability. Under a common crisis prevention and management, the two countries will better communicate and prepare for future threats like the Russian-driven disinformation or cyber-attacks. By cultivating the cooperation and dialogue this will be a step for further modernizing NATO amid the 2030 strategic concept.

Media operations conducted by Russian media services against NATO members or the two nations, aim to eliminate technical argumentation or discussion between them by agitation of emotions. As a transatlantic forum with its technical standards and rules, NATO can play an active role in setting the agenda in international or social media in a technical way of discourse with its rationalism to counter emotionally based media operations rather than striving to refute every piece of fabricated information.

 

Misinformation and disinformation spread very quickly in traditional and social media sources. Alliance members' bureaucracies could be delayed in responding to fake news due to their organizational procedures. In order to strengthen the responsiveness of the alliance, parties could benefit more from Track Two level diplomacy with the participation of retired related bureaucrats, regional experts and pertinent journalists.

 

Russia can target different audiences in line with its policy goals where they use variations of the same or different narratives. Rather than simply countering the mis or disinformation, alliance members should define the targeted audience by the fabricated news at the stage of discourse development with the psychological and ideological assessments to reach manipulated or potentially manipulated audiences.

 

Media operations are administered through media actors for various sectors related to foreign policy, from energy security to the military-industrial complex. As part of proactive crisis prevention efforts, alliance members and two countries should be open to getting periodical insights from the business environment.

 

 

 

Rehman, A. U., & Abbas, Z. (2020). Mediterranean Sea Struggle between Turkey and Greece and its Implications for the Existence of NATO and the Way Forward. Acta Universitatis Danubius. Relationes Internationales, 13(2).