Greece and Turkey: The Rocky Islet Crisis

The dispute between Greece and Turkey over the sovereignty of Imia/Kardak islet escalated rapidly because bilateral relations are hampered by historic distrust and unresolved issues, and because both countries have weak governments. Each marshalled legal arguments to support its position. The United States acted to defuse the crisis and restore the status quo ante, but some State Department comments complicated U.S.-Greek relations. In the aftermath, a politically damaged Greek government temporarily distanced itself from the United States and sought support from its European Union partners. The crisis did not affect efforts to form a government in Turkey, which sought to counter Greece's moves in Europe.