Ankara for Greek visitors

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Ankara for Greek visitors


If you look at the history of modern Greece and Turkey, you will see a specific target city (not just Izmir). In 1922, Greek troops were defeated in a long and terrible war just 80 km from Ankara. Ankara, the symbol of the birth of Turkey, became the new capital. In 1930, Venizelos and Atatürk met in Ankara to discuss a lasting peace. They thought about conducting a common foreign policy, as well as the possibilities of a federation of the two countries. Ankara wore the blue and white colors of Greece while in Venizelas. Could this be the end of the war?

But since then, there has been a conflict between Athens and Ankara, our last war in 1974 does not seem 40 years old. Far away... in Cyprus? Athens and Ankara divorced. Although these are the capitals of NATO neighbors, there are no direct flights between them. A Turk in Athens, a Greek in Ankara reads like a Cold War spy story…

I came as a scientist looking for collaboration. In three short trips on the 13th and 14th. I was surprised that so many people had never seen a Greek in Ankara... the history of modern Turkey says a lot about us. Greeks are "losers" and "missing persons". In the 1910s and 1920s, massive population exchanges between the two countries, victims of war and nationalist unrest ... drove almost all Greeks to leave Asian Anatolia (and Northern Cyprus). Our massive expulsion from Anatolia causes us deep pain and raises many questions for many Turks. Why can't we live together?

A visit to Ankara is a kind of pilgrimage. Historical, modern; unknown city. Everything is cultural here. People get hot and sometimes cold even in their sprawling capital. We met very interesting people in many different places. In shacks, university classrooms, museums, trendy restaurants in your poverty. friendly smiling people, incredibly hospitable people. Young people full of energy for change and rebellion against backwardness and oppression. Such a beautiful cultural setting and such a contrast to a typical European city.

I am sharing some highlights of our visit to Ankara on November 13. My husband Vaso and I walked Castle Hill, pondered the history of the rocks and ancient walls, visited two museums, and shopped until we dropped all in one day.

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