Posted by Mike on December 21, 2000 at 09:54:07:
In Reply to: Re: Greeks and the Ottoman Rule posted by Nikos on December 19, 2000 at 17:32:48:
Thank you for your intelligent and informative reply, Nikos, and your correct
observation, Mike A.
Indeed I of course stand corrected that the Ottoman rule did not end until the
1920's. Now, I don't deny the fact that many atrocities were committed during
the rule, in fact that is just my point: most any foreign rule implies some
oppression or other and no foreign occupier has the monopoly on inhumanities
(let me point out that atrocities were committed by both sides during the
Greek invasion of Asia Minor in the '20's).
What I am trying to understand is why the Ottoman rule still plays such an
important part in today's mentality of Greeks towards the Turks.
And in fact you answer my suspicions: these negative historical feelings are
being used to play their part in the politics of today. Issues such as Cyprus
or Aegean territorial claims, important as they may be, are quite unrelated to
Ottoman rule, yet authorities, politicians and Church revert to the age-old
method of manipulation of emotions to further their ends.
May I take issue with your point about the religiosity of the cultures as being
a factor in this continued animosity? During the Ottoman rule the day to day
administration of the common people was in fact mediated through the Orthodox
church. This, and the fact that the Constantinople Patriarchate was permitted
to exist, is testimony to the religious tolerance of the Ottoman empire.
Let's put things into context: Spain and Italy (countries where I have lived
over the past years) boast only a short democratic history, they have had their
share of internal conflict, and until several decades ago, they were among the
poorest Western European nations. And, of course, the solid relations of other
European countries which you mention have been reality for only the past half
century: 60 years ago, Europe was embroiled WWII; one century ago, alliances
were in rapid change. As you therefore may agree, Greece is not such an
exception in Europe; and all things considered, it doesn't do so badly: with
enormous US (and the anti-US attitude IS another story, maybe a new thread ;-)
and EU support I don't think you can complain about not coming out on top,
Our fathers and mothers lived through war and atrocities first hand, and yet,
to their credit, they have managed to put it behind them, and avoid their
present view of nations to be muddied by the past. Let this be a lesson.
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