Greece and Cyprus always took the step of retreat: With the enemy inside the walls but also outside…

Greece and Cyprus always took the step of retreat: With the enemy inside the walls but also outside…
Greece and Cyprus always took the step of retreat: With the enemy inside the walls but also outside…

The President of the Republic of Cyprus, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, received an aircraft which is a donation from the Hellenic Republic to Cyprus. The Minister of Defense, Charalambos Petridis, and the head of the National Guard, Dimokritos Zervakis, are also distinguished. Photo of IGP, PIO


With Turkey on a predetermined course for decades, the her aggressive rhetoric with unbridled infamy and threats against Greece-Cyprus.

However, the gap between pompous threats and Turkish military actions is a fact, since Turkey proceeds with military raids in cases of overwhelming superiority against the victim, e.g. Iraq, Syria’s Afrin, Libya…

This is how it happened in Cyprus in 1974, after first the junta withdrew the Greek division and later the junta betrayal and the coup d’état.

  • Characteristically, in the cases where Greece-Turkey appeared to reach the brink of a general conflict, the evidence reveals that there was no corresponding Turkish military mobilization, but a permanent pursuit to turn Turkish claims into a bilateral issue and Greece retreated.

In 1976 the Turkish vessel “HORA” carried out surveys in the Aegean. Likewise in 1987 the Turkish “SISMIK”.

In 1996, in the crisis of Imia, Turkey faced the “lost” Simitis and as revealed by the excellent e.a. General Kambouridis who was then serving in Ankara, no Turkish camp was in war preparations.

In all cases, the …”conflict” was avoided by a bilateral agreement, which was a step in Greece’s retreat. Even in 2020, with the Turkish vessel “Oruch Reis” and the “echo” of a Turkish frigate by a Greek one, Turkey remained silent. Nor was any action attempted that would necessarily “oblige” the Government in Athens to react militarily, e.g. a Turkish landing at Kastellorizo.

However, the policy of inaction eventually produced concessions. For example, we would be in an advantageous position vis-a-vis the infamous Turkish-Libyan memorandum, if Athens listened to President Tassos Papadopoulos’ insightful proposal to regulate the Greece-Cyprus EEZ.

However, the question now is what we do today. And while two states within the EU are “unable” to regulate EEZ between them, the defeatism syndrome remains, with Turkey aiming to turn its illegal claims into bilateral disputes and freeze any Greek energy initiative for mining.

Against a determined and defensively strengthened Greece, Turkey will avoid general conflict, thus avoiding a possible Turkish failure, with unpredictable upheavals within Turkey, but looking for “limited” weak points.

  • From the above perspective, Cyprus can, through defense capabilities and alliances, turn from a weakness into a deterrence advantage against Turkey. And since the EU does not have a defense mechanism for its states, the responsibility of self-protection is ours.

Military partnerships and joint training are all very well, but deterrence is built with substantial defense capabilities and alliances by policymakers.

With the enemy within the walls in Cyprus and outside the walls in the Aegean, Cyprus will have to join the France-Greece defense alliance within the wider European defense and security framework.

(*) THE Kostas Mavridis is a member of the European Parliament of DIKO (S & D), and President of the Political Committee for the Mediterranean – [email protected]

  • The comments published on our website necessarily express the authors. Our website does not censor anyone’s opinions.


The syndrome of defeatism in Athens and Nicosia continues: Will they finally wake up from their lethargy in Cyprus?

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