Despite their proximity as neighbors, and many shared elements in terms of food, music, and culture, Turks and Greeks are often perceived as enemies rather than friends.
On the world stage, Turkey and Greece seem to constantly butt heads, but do Turks and Greeks themselves harbor animosity toward their neighbors?
Despite political tensions, Turks and Greeks, who are both known for their generosity, warmth, and welcoming spirit, seem to have much more in common than many would believe.
Both people share a beautiful geographic position in the Mediterranean and a climate that makes people in other parts of the world jealous. As neighbors, Turks and Greeks should enjoy all the beautiful things — the culture, food, music, lifestyle — that they have in common.
And as these videos of the Easy Languages project with authentic on-the-street interviews from people by both countries show, the two peoples are much more comfortable and sympathetic with each other than one might believe.
Do Turks Hate Greeks? Watch the video below:
The two videos, shot in Istanbul and Athens, show interviews with everyday people from various age groups sharing their experiences and views about their neighboring country across the Aegean.
And, indeed, the vast majority of the people interviewed speak of their neighbors with warmth and friendliness and express their desire for a peaceful co-existence in this wonderful part of the world that dozens millions of people visit every year.
Do Greeks Hate Turks? Watch the video below:
Tensions created for political gains
Turks and Greeks alike agree that the hostility between them is nothing more than the product of vested interests, of governments that have their own agendas.
“I really think there is a hostility created by the encouragement of these governments,” says a Turkish man in his late fifties who is happy to have visited 80 percent of Greece, as he says.
“I really found them warm and sincere,” he says about the Greeks he encountered in his visits to the neighboring country.
“I know the current tensions (between Turkey and Greece) are for the sake of political goals,” says a Turkish man in his twenties with certainty.
When asked what is the first thing that comes to mind when they hear the word “Greece”, most of the Turkish people replied is “neighbor.”
“Two societies that lived side by side is the first thing that comes to mind,” a man in his late fifties replied.
“Turks are very nice people”
Similarly, young Greeks who were interviewed have nothing against their Turkish neighbors:
“They are very nice people. Their country is very nice,” answered a couple in their twenties who had visited Turkey.
At the same time, the couple believed that Turks in a similar age group would say the same about Greece and the Greeks.
“They are neighbors. We have co-existed with them for many years. We have taken a lot of things from them (influences) and have also given them things,” said a Greek man in his forties.
However, he expressed insecurity in light of Turkey’s provocative acts in the past few years:
“I feel insecurity because it’s a very big country and I would not like to have any attacks against each other and fear one another,” he said.
At the same time, a Turkish man in his thirties who lives in Athens was enthusiastic when interviewed by Easy Languages:
“It is the best time of my life here. I have made much more valuable friendships here than in Turkey. And I thank them all (the Greeks) for being so hospitable and tolerant.”
As people living across from each other for centuries, Turks and Greeks have only good things to share on a personal level, as these videos show.