Greece on S-300 missile deployment in Cyprus (1998)

Suggested Citation: Neophytos G. Loizides, Greek-Turkish Negotiations and Crises 1983-2003 Dataset , Queen's University Belfast (available online at http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/CentrefortheStudyofEthnicConflict/TeachingResearch/Datasets/Greek-TurkishNegotiationsandCrises1983-2003/#d.en.173636)

Case Summary:

This case study examines Greek crisis behavior over Turkish threats against Cyprus in retaliation to the deployment of the Russian S-300 missiles in the island. Turkish forces rehearse operations to destroy the missiles if they are deployed. Although such action can ignite a war between Greece and Turkey, according to the Washington Times, Turkey 's political leaders are reluctant to back down, particularly with parliamentary elections scheduled for April 1999.[i] For the period 12/1/19981/1/1999, Lexis/Nexis provides 43 results for terms “Cyprus,” “crisis,” “Greece,” and “ Turkey ” (full text search under European News Sources). In December 1998, Cyprus decides not to deploy the missiles.[ii]

Case Study Features

Effectiveness of Offensive Policies: 0

Offensive measures, such as the purchase of new missiles, can help Cyprus very little in its defense and might put Greek Cypriots at greater military risk, if Turkey retaliates before the deployment of the missiles.

Offensive vs. Defensive Signals Indistinguishable: 0

Armaments are a classic example of indistinguishability between offensive and defensive action. Actions to secure one side lead to unintended fears and escalations of conflict by the ethnic antagonists.

Enduring Ethnic Rivalries : 1

There are “enduring ethnic rivalries,” resulting primarily from the Turkish invasion of Cyprus , and other issues. 

Domestic Challenges : 0

The Greek government does not face any major election or challenge at the time.

Confrontational Policies (dependent variable): 0

Greece puts an unprecedented amount of pressure on the Cyprus government to give up its deployment of the Russian missiles.

[i] James H. Anderson and James Phillips, “Averting war between Greece and Turkey ”, The Washington Times, October 9, 1998, p.18.

[ii] Martin Hellicar, “ Cyprus abandons plans to deploy controversial S-300 missiles”, Agence France Presse, December 30, 1998.