The ongoing economic crisis in Greece since 2008 has had an impact, primarily negative on the social, political, and economic fabric of the polity writ large. The question is whether it has had an impact on policy making as well. A recent study I conducted with my colleague Kostas Ifantis for the Hellenic Observatory with a generous grant from the National Bank of Greece on the perceptions of Greek Foreign Policy elites perceive and how they view Greece’s role in the international arena; Turkey and Turkish foreign policy; and Greek-Turkish relations may provide some answers on the impact on foreign policy making.
The elites (diplomats, high ranking military personnel, journalists, businessmen, politicians, an academics) that responded tour our closed-ended questionnaire of some 33 questions provided a complex assessment of their perceptions regarding Turkey and Greek-Turkish relations at this particular point in time. First of all, the research provides, for the first time, hard data that the elites support the post-1999 rapprochement strategy. Some 65.3% of the those surveyed agreed with the policy. A second interesting finding has to do with 51.6% elite support for the policy supported by every government since 1999 to support Turkey’s efforts to become a member of the European Union. Furthermore, 92.2% of those surveyed belie that the resolution of the Cyprus problem is especially relevant for the improvement of Greek-Turkish relations. Also, the respondents, some 62.2%, did not think that Turkish investments in Greece are a threat to Greek national interests – an issue that has received a lot of attention given the growing interest by Turkish companies to invest in Greece properties.
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