Migration Diplomacy as a Three-Level Game in Greek-Turkish Relations
Gerasimos Tsourapas (Senior Lecturer in International Relations, University of Glasgow)
The emerging literature on states’ migration diplomacy traditionally centres on how cross-border mobility effects, and is affected by, governmental foreign policy strategies. Yet, little attention has been paid to strategic interactions between domestic political priorities, bilateral foreign policy negotiations, and supranational organisations, particularly the European Union. This paper draws inspiration from Robert Putnam’s work on the entanglement of domestic and international politics and puts forth a theorisation of migration diplomacy as a three-level game. Beyond the importance of intergovernmental negotiations, we propose that migration diplomacy actors absorb domestic-level concerns as well as supranational pressures, particularly at instances of crisis. We apply this framework on the February/March 2020 border crisis between Greece and Turkey, in which tens of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers sought to enter European territory, with the two countries reaching dangerous levels of escalation. We identify how both Greek and Turkish use of migration diplomacy was shaped by three sets of policy goals, namely domestic, international, and supranational. We conclude with a discussion of how such a framework can shed valuable light on border crises and the interplay between migration, geopolitics, and foreign policymaking.