Monday, April 17, 2017

A view from the Bosporus

My father had visited Istanbul in 1960. I visited the city twice on stopover on my way to my wife's country in 2014. Took a bus from the airport and got off near the Bosporus.

When I faced the Bosporus I felt a big chill. I marveled at a cosmopolis that joins Asia and Europe. Wow. What a feeling. The people were diverse and friendly. Drank tea on the boat crossing sitting next to a Dutch woman.

For any Greek, Constantinople carries special significance. I felt at home, strangely. Strolled around the city for a few hours, it was a bank holiday and wound up eating kebab and chatting with a Syrian waiter and Turkish clients in Besiktas before going back to the airport to catch my flight.

On the bus, my card ran out of credits. A Turkish woman used hers to pay for me and refused to get reimbursed. 

After all that, what can I say. 

Well, Greece has always been suspicious of Turkish aims and with good cause. Greece was occupied for a few centuries.

But there is not much separating Turks and Greeks after all. We are both at the crossroads of three continents. 

To be honest, Turkey's current political/institutional problems are a great opportunity for Greece to attract global corporate business away from Istanbul. Coupled with Brexit, this is a great business opportunity for Greece.

I have met young Turks who work in Athens and it was a pleasure. I hope that Turkey finds its way into the future, it deserves it. Everyone does.

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