The Military Balance of Power Between Greece and Turkey: Tactical and Strategic Objectives

  • André Gerolymatos
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the expected demise of the Ottoman Empire and concern over the subsequent political vacuum in the region was the driving force behind the policies of the Great Powers towards the Middle East. In historical terms the ‘Eastern Question’ of the nineteenth century has undergone a metamorphosis from European imperialism into a geopolitical dynamic characterized by Islamic fundamentalism which is transforming the Middle East and Central Asia into potential areas of instability and upheaval. Within this context, the Eastern Mediterranean represents a serious challenge to Western security in the region. Strategically, the Eastern Mediterranean can be a base of Western influence and trade to these regions, or it can serve as a catalyst for further destabilization and regional conflict. In this respect the future course of Greek-Turkish relations is a critical factor to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) expansion and containment of fundamentalist Islam.


Armed Force Weapon System North Atlantic Treaty Organization Turkish Society Daily Telegraph 
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  1. 1.
    M. Stearns, Entangled Allies: U.S. Policy Toward Greece, Turkey and Cyprus (New York: Council of Foreign Relations Press, 1992), 21–2 and passim, clearly demonstrates in his study that American policy toward Greece, Turkey, and Cyprus was and is primarily motivated by security and defense considerations.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    In January 1997 the Cypriot government confirmed the purchase of an unspecified number of missiles from Russia worth approximately US$400 million (Athens News Agency, 97–01–07). The weapons system, however, is scheduled to be deployed on the island in 1998–9 (Cyprus Press and Information Office, 14 January 1997). In response, the Ankara government threatened Cyprus with military retaliation if and when the missiles reach Cyprus (‘Turkey Slams Greek Cypriot Missile Purchase’, Turkish Daily News, 7 January 1997; ‘Karadayi: Missiles A Provocation’, Turkish Daily News); ‘Turkey warns of Cypriot strike’, Jane’s Defence Weekly, 15 January 1997; ‘Cyprus S-300 sales proceed’, Jane’s Defence Weekly, 25 June 1997. Greek military doctrine, on the other hand, and the joint defense pact with Cyprus, state that ‘Greece is not prepared to accept any fait accompli in Cyprus, and any further act of aggression against the island by Turkey will be considered as directed against Greece. Greek military doctrine considers such a development as a casus belli.’ Aristos Aristotelous, Greece, Turkey and Cyprus: The Military Balance 1995–1996, Arms, Doctrines and Disarmament (Nicosia: Cyprus Center for Strategic Studies, 1995), 30; ‘Military deal in Cypriot budget angers Turkey’, Jane’s Defence Weekly, 26 February 1997.Google Scholar
  3. 9.
    S. V. Mayall, ‘Turkey: Thwarted Ambition’, Institute for National Strategic Studies (Washington: National Defence University Press, 1997), 37–8.Google Scholar
  4. 32.
    According to A. Platias, after the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus Greek military doctrine has focused on Turkey as the main threat to Greece: P. Ephaistos and A. Platias, Elliniki Apotreptiki Strategiki (Greek Deference Strategy) (Athens: Papazisis Publishers, 1992), 22–5.Google Scholar
  5. 35.
    Meirion and Susie Harries, Soldiers of the Sun: The Rise and Fall of the Imperial Japanese Army (New York: Random House, 1991), 159.Google Scholar

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© André Gerolymatos 2000

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  • André Gerolymatos

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