Traveling to Greece

Turkey Threatens Missiles Against Athens – Is It Safe to Visit Greece?

Written by Charlie

With the latest Turkish threat being about missiles against Athens, is it safe to visit Greece? Here is a look at the various factors in play.

On Sunday, President Erdoğan of Turkey made remarks about the use of their newest missiles and how they could reach Greece. This is the latest in an ongoing stance between the two countries (which have a very long and complicated history). So, what was this threat and is it safe to visit Greece?

Turkey Threatens Missiles Against Athens

Here is the statement that the Turkish president made in Turkey on Sunday evening: “Now we have started to make our own missiles. Of course, this production scares the Greeks. When you say ‘Tayfun,’ the Greek gets scared and say, ‘It will hit Athens.’ Well, of course it will.

If you don’t stay calm, if you try to buy something [to arm yourself] from here and there, from America to the islands, a country like Turkey will not be a bystander. It has to do something.”

“Tayfun” means typhoon and was recently tested in October. It has a range of 560km (350 miles). This is double the range of other missiles that they have.

This statement followed another one that the Turkish Foreign Minister made last week about Greek militarization of the Aegean islands, saying that Ankara “will take the necessary steps on the ground.”

This is simply the latest in a long list of veiled threats and statements that the Turkish government has made against Greece. There are many issues at hand but the ones that Turkey continues talking about is the possession of islands in the Aegean that are Greek-flagged. Part of this is due to territorial issues and part of it has to do with natural gas deposits under and near these islands.

Greek media and international media (AP and Bloomberg, for example) referred to these statements as “threats” agains the Greek nation.

Is It Safe to Visit Greece?

Right from the top, as someone who has spent a lot of time in Greece (not just for island vacations!) and has talked to many, many Greek people at various levels, I will say that I definitely consider it safe to visit Greece. I will break down here why I think this.

First, Turkey has been making statements against Greece for a very long time now. At issue, as I said, is many things but for Erdogan, it is apparently issues of national pride and sovereignty that he wishes to take possession of the islands in the Aegean that Turkey claims belong to them.

Also at issue is the militarization of these islands. Being that they belong to Greece, the Greek government feels it is within their power to do so and Turkey has continually threatened action against Greece is this were to continue.

Yet, nothing has happened. That is not to say nothing ever will, but there are many issues at play here that would suggest that this would not occur.

One of them, and probably something near the top, is the issue of tourism. For both Turkey and Greece, tourism is an incredibly important part of their economies. Greece is coming off of their best tourism year ever this year and Turkey has also enjoyed a rebound in their tourism industry. With the summer tourist season of 2023 just a few months away, both nations have a lot to gain from the first big tourist season without covid restrictions (Greece only removed most of their restrictions back in June) so both countries are looking for a huge summer season.

Along with tourism, the Turkish government owns a 49% stake in Turkish Airlines. If they were to start a war against Greece, the airline could likely find itself in grave financial difficulties, in part due to the government ownership.

Obviously, any attacks would kill the tourism industry, not just for Greece but for Turkey as well.

In addition, Turkey, as well as Greece, is a NATO member nation. Turkey knows what would happen to it if it did launch an attack against another NATO country. Given the legality of the NATO charter, Turkey would be facing serious issues if they attacked. They have also been an EU candidate country since 1999 and very much want to enter that union. Suffice it to say, attacking an EU member nation would certainly mess that up.

Next, Turkey purchases arms from the United States and is trying to get 40 F-16 fighter jets to upgrade their air force. That has had holds on it for a while due to their overflights of Greek territories but are now slated to be able to go through with the purchase of them next year. Of course, if there was any attack on Greece, this would also scuttle that deal and Turkey very much wants to obtain these fighter jets.

I have spoken to many Greeks in a wide range of areas of the country and almost no one thinks that Erdogan would actually attack Greece. Both Greece and Turkey have elections coming up next year and many Greeks feel that the increase in statements from Turkey are just meant to rile things up for the election.

Lastly, even the US State Department feels that Greece is a safe place to visit, putting it at a Level 1 of four. They have elevated other countries in the past to a Level 2 or 3 based on smaller issues than a war (in terms of scale) so since they have kept it at a Level 1, they obviously feel it is safe. 

I am in Greece now and find it a very safe place to visit and stay and would not hesitate to recommend people visit it themselves.

Of course, you should make any decisions to visit foreign countries for yourself, not trusting the opinion of some guy on the internet! 🙂 But, with a lot of noise now about this ongoing issue, I wanted to break down why I feel it is safe and why I have no problem being in Greece myself.

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About the author

Charlie

Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

2 Comments

  • sure not now….but when China attacks Taiwan / USA / Quad (2026+)…North Korea joins the fun. Then Iran-Israel MAYBE, Russia/Iran – USA/Europe amplifies, then Pakistan/China vs India….hey why not Greece vs Turkey.

    it’s all fun in the end. I mean, everyone loves war. Look at the top selling video games…and the language of sports….ATTACK, HIT, STEAL, DEFEND, GOAL, etc…

    …just reading your old post on Aegean to fly intra-asia…nice. Got enough miles to do what I need to do w/o buying…but nice to know.

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