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What comes to your mind when someone mentions Turkey (the country)?
I am Greek.
(And Australian, but a lot more of my reactions are going to be informed by being Greek than being Australian, for obvious reasons. In fact, Gallipoli to me is more about the manuscript of Gallipoli dialect I saw in Athens, than the ANZACs. But to me, Australian history started in 1942 anyway.)
100% honesty, you say?
My first reaction on hearing Turkey:
It’s how the Greek press refers to Turkey, and how the Turkish press refers to Greece. Not “the primordial enemy”, which it was up until 1990. Not “our good buddy”, because there is still too much history there. But the neighbour. Someone we know very very well. Someone we’ve had a lot of bad blood with. Someone we find unexpected common reference points with. Someone who gets under our skin so much, because they’re so much like us. And someone that we have many more songs in common with, than we do with those we claim as kin.
“Turkish food is like Greek good, only good.” Best goddamn meat in my life, from a suburban kebab shop in Kadıköy.
Kemalism: Secular mainstream.
Towns we used to call our own.
Land of the moustache. Where nuances of moustache revealed political affiliation.
Booming economy, feeling pretty smug now about not joining the EU.
Deep pockets of history.
Place I need to explore more of than just Sultanahmet.
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