Friday, 6 August 2010

‘We are like one family, Turks and Greeks…’

Listen to the sly Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davoutoglu arriving in Rhodes today for an informal meeting with Greece’s deputy foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas (news story in Greek here):

‘It’s a great pleasure for me to be in Rhodes today. I’m meeting with Dimitris and the tourism minister [Giorgos Nikitiadis], both of whom are my good friends. We meet like family. In reality, the Aegean Sea is our common home and when I was in Bodrum (Halicarnassus) I phoned Dimitris to see if it was possible for us to meet in Rhodes. He courteously accepted and I’m grateful for this. We are like one family, Turks and Greeks, since we share the same geography, cultural inheritance and tourist environment.’

The Aegean is our common home, indeed – and presumably like any common home you want your fair share of it, just like you want your fair share of Cyprus and your fair share of Thrace. And as for common cultural inheritance, I hear this often, but it is complete nonsense. To put it at its starkest, and following Kazantzakis, Greece represents freedom, Turkey death. End of story.

6 comments:

Θάνος Δ. said...

I am waiting to see a Greek foreign minister going to Constantinople and saying "this is our common home"…

outlaw said...

isn't it enough that turks and greeks fought each other for such a long time? what are more hate and fighting going to bring to the peoples of the aegean sea?

I wish as a constantinople-istanbul-or-whatever-born non-turk (like the most so called "turks") that I could say that "poli" is our common home. I wish I could erase what happened in the past, but I can't...

but I know that I can, we can make it never happen again. and nationalism isn't the answer. neither the turkish, nor the greek one...

John Akritas said...

Yes, Thano, I'd like to see it too: though I reckon a Greek foreign minister saying such a thing would be arrested, carted off to the Turkish equivalent of Korydalos and have electrodes attached to his genitals.

Outlaw: why can't you say that Constantinople is our common home, and allow the Ecumenical Patriarchate to survive and return the property of those Greeks thrown out from the City in 1955 and 1964? Why can't Turkey do this? And why can't Turkey end the occupation of northern Cyprus? These things aren't the past, they're the here and now. So that until Turkey can say and do these things, Greeks have every right – in fact, the duty – to doubt Turkish overtures and intentions.

outlaw said...

as you could (or maybe should) have noticed I am not a nationalist. appealing to me as a member of a national collective - "you turks" - creates an homogenous enemy-image which allows you to cherish the own national-front-building-attitude against the "enemy".

I'm a simple man who was born, but has left turkey a long time ago. any man who isn't totally blind would recognize that I alone don't have a chance to change neither the turkish minority-policy nor the foreign policy against greece. but my duty is to try it. just like you should also try to end this hostility.

we could only have chance if normal people - like you and me - would bury their weapons. (and yes, writing can - and usually is - a weapon.

Θάνος Δ. said...

To bury our weapons?
Many people in Cyprus are still waiting to find and bury their missing relatives…

John Akritas said...

Outlaw, your sentiments are all well and good, but they don't address any of the issues that separate Greece and Turkey and these are real issues, not artificial, and I would argue all of these issues are of Turkey's making, not Greece's; so I object to your implication that Greeks are just as much to blame as Turks for the hostilities between our countries.

Here a couple of very good posts on precisely why Greeks can't just go along with your sentiments of goodwill.

http://greekodyssey.typepad.com/my_greek_odyssey/2009/08/turkish-friendship.html

http://greekodyssey.typepad.com/my_greek_odyssey/2007/09/turks-versus-gr.html

And I'm totally convinced that for every person of goodwill like you, there are 10,000 Turks who do not feel this way; so I don't think it would be a good idea for Greeks to bury their weapons just yet.