Greek Deterrence of Turkey: Living to Fight Another Day

Greece is facing a serious security challenge from Turkey, a fellow NATO country. The recent deterioration of bilateral relations has generated suspicion and distrust in Athens. The upcoming exploratory talks are bound to fail. The Greek deterrence strategy is shifting significantly because the possibility of conflict is growing.


Greece and Turkey are strange neighbors. They are bitter rivals with a history of armed conflict, but are both member-states of NATO. The list of bilateral issues between them has lengthened over the years, including the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus, the status of ethno-religious minorities, the delimitation of territorial waters, the continental shelf/Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and national airspace, and the problem of illegal immigration.

Greek-Turkish relations hit a new low on July 21, when the Erdoğan regime announced its decision to send a seismic exploration ship near the Greek island of Kastellorizo. Ankara’s main objective has been to grab as much continental shelf as possible by preventing Athens from declaring an EEZ in the area. Kyriakos Mitsotakis’s center-right government rose to the challenge and mobilized its fleet to disrupt a Turkish oil and gas survey in what it deems the Greek continental shelf.

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