Back to the Future? Brinksmanship in the Aegean A round table on Greek - Turkish - US relations

14 May 2018 - Monday

Piraeus Bank Conference Center
Thessaloniki, Greece
Friday, 18 May 2018
17:00 – 20:30

Greece and Turkey are neighbors, foes, and allies, joined geographically by a unique and occasionally disputed border over land and sea, allied bilaterally the one and the other with the United States, and multilaterally through NATO, while Turkey is also a candidate for membership in the European Union. In the past weeks, reports in English international media outlets have claimed that Greece and Turkey are closer to war than at any time since 1996, and conversely, more closely aligned, and more peaceful, than ever before.

Tensions remain high, alarmingly so to outside observers, in part owing to the unprecedented uncertainty emanating from the Administration of President Donald J. Trump, the US having long played the role of guarantor of stability in the Aegean.

Add Russian interests in the region, the impact of the ongoing military and refugee crisis in Syria, and challenges to democracy and the rule of law on both sides of the Atlantic (with elections certain in Turkey and in the US, and possible in Greece, in 2018), and you have a volatile mix.

What should one expect going forward? Is the current climate reminiscent in any way of previous periods in local history, or are we called upon to recast this history in a new and potentially unsettling light? Will tensions escalate? Who, if not the US (and NATO), can act as an honest broker in regional affairs?

In a unique collaborative venture, the Center for International and European Studies (CIES) and the Michael and Kitty Dukakis Center for Public and Humanitarian Service at the American College of Thessaloniki will convene a distinguished group of scholars, practitioners, and diplomats for a public debate on these and other questions and issues.

Working language: English


Pavlos Apostolides, former Permanent Representative of Greece to the European Union

Mustafa Aydin, Kadir Has University; International Relations Council of Turkey

Maria Bozoudi, American College of Thessaloniki

Mitat Celikpala, Kadir Has University

Serhat Guvenc, Kadir Has University

Kostas Ifantis, Kadir Has University; Panteion University of Athens

Alex Karagiannis, former Senior Adviser to the Director General of the US Foreign Service

John Koenig, former US Ambassador to Cyprus

Sotiris Serbos, Democritus University of Thrace

Dimitrios Triantaphyllou, Kadir Has University

David Wisner, American College of Thessaloniki