A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
September 24, Wednesday. There is a mark on my agenda, with a star. I had been waiting for that day, that night for some time now. Why? Because we organized a Greek-Turkish Dinner for that day. How does it work?
You invite all the Greeks and Turks you know.
Everyone makes a dish to bring with them.
We eat. We sing. We dance.
It ends up being an amazing feast!
Last year we had our first dinner and this was the second one. Both times, whenever I told someone about the event, I was faced with the same questions: But isn’t there a dispute between Greece and Turkey? I thought Turks didn’t like Greeks and the other way around? Well, no. NO. That is not always the case. Yes, there are groups who have been raised with hatred towards others but not everyone. I have met so many Greeks who got excited when I told them I’m from Istanbul and I always get excited when I meet a Greek person too. And this is not just the new generation, my grandparents were great friends with their Greek neighbors, there are many Greek-Turkish couples with kids. After all we all lived together for so long, resulting in similar cultures.
Is X thing Greek or Turkish? Who cares! Call it what you want, raki or ouzo, it tastes amazing, so let’s just enjoy our shared beauties instead of trying to label them. We also had a mixed playlist at the dinner, Greek songs, Turkish songs, collaborations of Greek and Turkish artists singing a song in both languages. My favorite was Dostluk Şarkısı (Friendship Song) by Fedon, a Greek artist from Turkey. The song is half Turkish half Greek. It talks about how friendship, love and tears brought us all together; it calls for peace and friendship.
Overall what I’m trying to say is, I like to think that we are brothers and sisters, that we are friends, that we can live together in peace and that there is hope. I like to think that we, the optimists, the believers, will be the majority one day, soon, and that all past disputes will be forgotten.