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Greek-Turkish rapprochement: the impact of 'disaster diplomacy'?

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This article challenges the widely held view that the Greek-Turkish rapprochement of 1999 was the direct result of the collaboration following the earthquakes that hit both countries that year. The high-level political and diplomatic efforts which form the basis of the improved relations and which preceded the earthquakes are examined. The article goes on to provide a detailed account of the efforts at governmental and nongovernmental levels to mitigate the effects of the disasters and illustrates the impact of the two disastrous events on public perceptions of the 'enemy' and on bilateral relations. In this context, the author warns against the simplistic assumption that diplomatic efforts should be causally linked with the occurrence of disasters. Instead, he asserts that disasters may have a multiplying and legitimising effect on diplomatic rapprochement.

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