This tendency also led both not to invest rigorously in fundamental diplomatic efforts to resolve outstanding differences, which have evolved over time depending on the context.
Undeniably, both NATO and the EU have acted as deconfliction levers between the two countries, which have led to a tenuous attempt to strengthen political, economic, and societal ties in particular since the late 1990s.
The gridlock in Turkey’s EU accession process coupled, with the emergence of multiple poles that contest the existing multilateral order, has fundamentally challenged Greece’s approach to "containing" Turkey since 1999; when it lifted its objections to Turkey’s EU bid. This steadfast support for Ankara’s EU vocation, from a Greek perspective, was based on the belief that the transformative context of the process would allow for an eventual settlement of differences on the basis of International Law and its application. It would be at the core of a long-term trust-building process that would transform both countries and their societies in how they approach and view the other. At the same time, Greece has always understood the limitations that EU and NATO membership brought to its deterrence potential to counter the perceived Turkish threat to its sovereign rights in the Aegean Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as to its sovereignty. This discernment emerged, in particular, because of the continued Turkish military presence in Cyprus since 1974, when Turkey intervened militarily in the wake of a coup against the President of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios. Another result of the Cyprus conflict in 1974 was the emergence of the Aegean or Fourth Army based in Izmir, with its offensive and amphibian capabilities which are seen as a direct threat to Greece’s many neighbouring islands. This induced Greece to beef up its deterrence capacities to counter the perceived threat from a neighbour and ally; whose geography was viewed as a crucial bulwark against a bevy of the threats that the West (including Greece), faced by a number of state and non-state actors.
At the current phase of the evolving regional context, both powers have clearly come to the conclusion that the world that was is being rapidly transformed. For Greece, this has meant an iteration of sustaining the EU project and ensuring that it is not only strengthened politically, but that it acquires a more geopolitical and dynamic international presence. Simultaneously, Greece, concerned with the increasingly coercive and military nature of Turkish diplomacy and power projection, has also opted to strengthen its regional presence both diplomatically and militarily. The conjecture of perceptions with other regional stakeholders such as Egypt, Israel and Cyprus, in particular, regarding the nature of the growing regional (over)reach by Turkey has mobilized Greece to strengthen diplomatic and military ties with the other peripheral states. Athens’ goal was to support a regional security community framework between these countries that could manage the hydrocarbon wealth that lies in the Eastern Mediterranean’ sea bed. Greece has also found common ground to strengthen its security deficits (both materially as well as conceptually) with both France and the United States, given their wider strategic interests in the region.