Believe it or not? That is the question

It was December 1996. My first visit to Greece was by bus. On the Greek-Turkish border, in a conversation with a talkative customs officer, I had to pass two “exams” at once.

The first was the question of Macedonia. I confess, while still on the bus, I saw the driver’s matches with the categorical inscription “Macedonia is one. And she is in Greece”, so the answer was counted. But to the second question, whether I am aware that Greece is about to enter the war with Turkey, I shrugged my hands in bewilderment, and by the face of the customs officer, I realized: the wrong answer.

– Look, he nodded in the direction of Turkey, – they are constantly pulling troops to the border …

True, I didn’t notice any military groups along the way, but just in case I looked where the man was pointing. Because of a short neutral zone, a Turkish soldier smiled white-toothed at us with him …

– Indeed, – I was forced to agree, – on the other hand, in addition to customs officers, there are also military …

“Here,” my interlocutor exclaimed triumphantly. “They’re just waiting to attack us!”

Many years have passed since then, and, thank God, the war did not start…

They talked about it, of course, but, as in the case of numerous violations of Greek airspace by the Turkish Air Force, they limited themselves to protests on paper and notes from the Foreign Ministry.

But in recent days, they have started talking very actively. Apparently, the bacillus of war, which, in my deep conviction, sits in every male body, woke up simultaneously in different parts of the world. And our country is no exception.

To believe or not to believe, that is the question. Turkish intelligence is actively spreading rumors that Greece is concentrating its armed forces in the area adjacent to the Turkish border. Ankara reacts seriously to such actions of the Greeks, believing that Athens is preparing for a large-scale military clash with the Turkish army in Western Thrace.

The Greek side does not make official statements on this subject. But in his usual manner, Erdogan shakes his finger, for whom, in his own words, the Greek prime minister “does not exist”, and for whom, until “he pulls himself together”, the meeting with the Turkish leader does not shine.

Experts believe that countries are simply “flexing their muscles” and a serious military escalation between Turkey and Greece should not be expected …

I don’t know, back in early February, I would probably have believed that muscle play without serious aggravation is possible … But now I don’t believe it. Everything can be. Moreover, there is a sad experience. The Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, a couple of years before the transformation of Agia Sophia into a mosque, also shook his finger at me, and assured me in public that in Turkey they treat Christian shrines so carefully that “they cannot eat …”. And he called to Cappadocia to show how the caves where the first Christians hid are kept and nurtured…

I have no faith in them, in our neighbors. Here I also recall how the same Erdogan called for a referendum in Thrace … that is, in northern Greece, where most of the Turkish population lives … And he repeats the now fashionable word “demilitarization” in relation to the Greek islands … Shaking a map, supposedly proving that all these islands are not Greek at all, but have always been Turkish …

And somehow it is disturbing in the soul from the fact that the emphasis in the phrase “believe it or not” is tempting to put it on his last word.

M&E

It was December 1996. My first visit to Greece was by bus. On the Greek-Turkish border, in a conversation with a talkative customs officer, I had to pass two “exams” at once.

The first was the question of Macedonia. I confess, while still on the bus, I saw the driver’s matches with the categorical inscription “Macedonia is one. And she is in Greece”, so the answer was counted. But to the second question, whether I am aware that Greece is about to enter the war with Turkey, I shrugged my hands in bewilderment, and by the face of the customs officer, I realized: the wrong answer.

– Look, he nodded in the direction of Turkey, – they are constantly pulling troops to the border …

True, I didn’t notice any military groups along the way, but just in case I looked where the man was pointing. Because of a short neutral zone, a Turkish soldier smiled white-toothed at us with him …

– Indeed, – I was forced to agree, – on the other hand, in addition to customs officers, there are also military …

“Here,” my interlocutor exclaimed triumphantly. “They’re just waiting to attack us!”

Many years have passed since then, and, thank God, the war did not start…

They talked about it, of course, but, as in the case of numerous violations of Greek airspace by the Turkish Air Force, they limited themselves to protests on paper and notes from the Foreign Ministry.

But in recent days, they have started talking very actively. Apparently, the bacillus of war, which, in my deep conviction, sits in every male body, woke up simultaneously in different parts of the world. And our country is no exception.

To believe or not to believe, that is the question. Turkish intelligence is actively spreading rumors that Greece is concentrating its armed forces in the area adjacent to the Turkish border. Ankara reacts seriously to such actions of the Greeks, believing that Athens is preparing for a large-scale military clash with the Turkish army in Western Thrace.

The Greek side does not make official statements on this subject. But in his usual manner, Erdogan shakes his finger, for whom, in his own words, the Greek prime minister “does not exist”, and for whom, until “he pulls himself together”, the meeting with the Turkish leader does not shine.

Experts believe that countries are simply “flexing their muscles” and a serious military escalation between Turkey and Greece should not be expected …

I don’t know, back in early February, I would probably have believed that muscle play without serious aggravation is possible … But now I don’t believe it. Everything can be. Moreover, there is a sad experience. The Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, a couple of years before the transformation of Agia Sophia into a mosque, also shook his finger at me, and assured me in public that in Turkey they treat Christian shrines so carefully that “they cannot eat …”. And he called to Cappadocia to show how the caves where the first Christians hid are kept and nurtured…

I have no faith in them, in our neighbors. Here I also recall how the same Erdogan called for a referendum in Thrace … that is, in northern Greece, where most of the Turkish population lives … And he repeats the now fashionable word “demilitarization” in relation to the Greek islands … Shaking a map, supposedly proving that all these islands are not Greek at all, but have always been Turkish …

And somehow it is disturbing in the soul from the fact that the emphasis in the phrase “believe it or not” is tempting to put it on his last word.

M&E



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