Sept 27 - 29, 2011 Istanbul

Recognizing that the emerging regional situation both entails complex challenges and may offer windows for fruitful collaboration, South East European Studies at Oxford (SEESOX), Bahçeşehir University and the Strategic Research Institute (SAM) of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs brought together a group of distinguished experts to explore the new realities on the ground at a three-day conference in Istanbul entitled ‘New Directions for Turkish-Greek Engagement in the Middle East and Balkans.’ Held on 27-29 September, the event brought together scholars and policymakers, including many of the original architects of Turkish-Greek détente, to take stock of the current state of bilateral relations between the two countries and their respective relationships with their neighbors. At the same time, participants were asked to reflect upon how the transforming regional context, especially the Arab revolutions and evolving relations with Israel, may shape Turkish-Greek ties. We further posed the questions: what is the impact of the current economic crisis in Greece on the wider political economy of the South East European region, including Turkey? How does the growing problem of illegal migration affect bilateral relations? And how might Turkey, Greece, and the EU work together to further the cause of democracy and human rights in their neighbourhoods?