The flight of eight soldiers from the failed Turkish coup to Greece in search of asylum has become the object of protracted debate in the Greek Parliament. Turkey has asked for their extradition, but some Members of Parliament are against it , because of their probable fate… On the other hand, there is no doubt these people fired from the air on unarmed civilians and have been branded traitors in their country.
Obviously whatever happens in Turkey concerns us closely. We are neighbours, we share a border and a sea; historically we have been mostly enemies, but we have a strong connection as well. After four centuries of Turkish occupation, we share many tastes, plenty of words and cooking recipes too! We get on well in person: at universities everywhere in the world, at sports meetings, we are always forging bonds. We have business connections. We help each other in the event of natural catastrophes like fires and earthquakes. We could be doing a lot more together, to the benefit of both. But – there is always a but – there are always politics. Threats, planes invading airspace, the unsolvable crisis in Cyprus… Things that cause a lot of agony, and help nobody in the long run.
I swear, history just makes me tired sometimes.
At the moment, I’m thinking about my friends in Istanbul, and the uncertainty they’re facing. Battles on Bosphorus Bridge, purges, a state of emergency. In Greece we’ve lived through a coup like this, and it ended in a military dictatorship that lasted 7 years. This one hasn’t, but combined with the latest terrorist attacks in public places, it all makes for a lot of distress.
One effect will be a huge blow to tourism. And we cannot forget that the people who were killed, as well as the thousands of soldiers now in jail, all have families – a lot of lives have been destroyed.
In her mostly photographic blog, photographyofnia, Nia has posted her thoughts and feelings about the coup. It makes for disturbing reading.
And for anyone who wants an interesting commentary on the same subject, read the relevant article (here) on Levantine Musings, a blog written by David Edgerly, who lived in Turkey and the Middle East for 25 years.