Turkish naval ships along with military helicopters are seen during the Sea Wolf military exercise. Photo by Ahmet Izgi, Anadolu Images,

Can the Greek Strategy of Counterbalancing Turkey Work?

Greek military and diplomatic initiatives carry the risk of creating further tension in the Aegean, if Greece pushes Turkey to bigger security dilemmas.

Despite its limited capacity, Greece assumes itself to be a major playmaker in regional politics, and thus follows an aggressive foreign policy towards Turkey. It’s worth asking why Greece pursues this strategy and what it hopes to achieve.

Neorealism, also known as structural realism in International Relations, offers a simple answer to this question: “Greece is trying to balance Turkey.” Drawing on Kenneth Waltz, the pioneer of the Neorealist School, states try to balance other states, which they lag behind, or try to limit others’ ability to some extent by resorting to internal balancing and/or external balancing mechanisms.

Internal balancing is the first and most common method of a balancing strategy. This happens as states strengthen their material capacity and power, and when they try to survive by their own means in the anarchic world system. If this is not enough, they resort to external balancing either to defend themselves or to minimize the threats they face. This generally occurs when states look to form alliances with stronger states. In this regard, Greece applies both internal and external balancing methods in order to counterbalance Turkey.

Read more: Can the Greek Strategy of Counterbalancing Turkey Work?

[Politics Today, January 11, 2022]

In this article