The National Perception of the ‘Other’ and the Persistence of Some Images
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First published in Turkish-Greek Relations – The Security Dilemma in the Aegean, Editors: Mustafa Aydın & Kostas Ifandis, Routledge, London and New York, 2004.


 The National Perception of the ‘Other’ and the Persistence of Some Images 

(H. Millas)


The problems in Greek-Turkish relations are generally perceived as a series of political and military controversies directly or indirectly connected to economic interests and to security concerns. True as this observation may be, there is still a more complex framework in which the bilateral relationships can be envisaged and which can also provide an explanation for the persistence of these unresolved disputes: due to historical reasons each party conceives the ‘other’ as a prospective threat or as a challenge to its identity and interprets each of his actions accordingly, creating a vicious circle where the national perceptions and the negative images concerning the ‘other’ dictate the vigilant attitude of ‘ours’ and which in turn also aggravates the attitude of the ‘other’. As John W. Burton has written ‘Conflict, like all relationships, is a perceived relationship’.[1] 

      This chapter will try to demonstrate how the image of the ‘other’ in each country is constructed and reproduced in three different spheres: 1) in textbooks, where the most ‘official’ discourse is encountered, 2) in historiography, i.e., within the academic world and 3) in literary texts and more specifically in the novels of the two countries where more widespread opinions are voiced. The image of the ‘other’, its development in time, its variants and its peculiarities, give information with respect to the conflict, to the perceptions of its participants and to the expected future behavior of the parties. This knowledge will be used to make some suggestions for the improvement of the bilateral relations.[2]


Textbooks and nation building


The founding of the two nation states, Greece in 1831 and Turkey in 1923, also marked the beginning of a new mission in educating the citizens in accordance with the targets of these new states. The presentation of the ‘other’ as the national enemy was quite an easy and a persuasive task since in both cases the liberation war was fought against the ‘other’. One of the targets was the strengthening of national identity and the ‘historical enemy’ played a decisive role: united ‘us’ against the ‘other’. The enmity can be traced back a few decades, but still education played its role in reinforcing it.

All studies on Greek textbooks show that these books up to very recent times recreated a negative image of the neighboring nation, the Turks. The ‘other’ is an ‘enemy’ with barbaric characteristics -rude warriors, uncivilized, invaders, etc.- an anathema that caused the slavery of the nation for many centuries. The students are presented with act of violence (massacres, forced conversion to Islam, etc.) performed by the Turks, described in very vivid language. The Turks are also unethical: sneaky, dishonest, etc. The Greeks are the opposite of all these: almost the perfect race. Alexis Heraclides who conducted the first study on Greek textbooks and the image of the Turks in 1980, concludes that this ethnocentric approach creates national stereotypes that harm the students and renders difficult the solution of bilateral relations.[3]

The Turkish textbooks are almost a mirror image of the above: the Turks are perfect and the Greeks, who hate and massacre the Turks, carry many negative characteristics: they are unreliable, unfaithful, cunning, insatiable etc.[4] A major metaphor is voiced directly or insinuated in all Turkish textbooks. The Turkish rule in the Christian lands was magnanimous but the Greeks did not appreciate the tolerance shown to heterodox minorities, revolted and eventually established a state, the main target of which is to create a wide empire, the ancient Byzantine anew on the expense of Turkish lands. This Greek project is known in Turkey as the ‘Megali İdea’ and its name is derived from the nationalistic ideal that aroused an irredentist ideology among the Greeks especially in the years 1904-1922.[5] The past is used to explain the present but also to make predictions for the future.

The similarities are easier to detect. The Manichaean dualism of ‘we are good and superior; the other is malicious’ seems to run through all nationalistic parlance. The peculiarities however, point to what is special and worth discovering in each case. The differences bring forth the traits out of which each nation is made. The dissimilarities distinguish one nation from the other, not only on an ‘us-other’ basis - which in actuality is the outcome of other parameters, not the cause of the distinction but a side effect of it - but on a basis of different perceptions of the environment, past and present.

The Greek community seems to face a query with respect to Tourkokratia, the centuries-long Turkish rule (‘occupation’ in Greek), and the extended ‘slavery’ of the nation. This prolonged ethnic subjugation is justified by exaggerating the size and the violent aspect of the dominating ‘other’: Turks normally are pictured as ‘barbaric hordes’. The war of independence is an act of resurrection of the nation, a transition from darkness to light. The existence of a negative ‘other’ appears as indispensable both to justify the revolution for ‘liberty’ and to vindicate the ‘slavery’.

The Turkish side, on the other hand, faces insecurity with respect to sovereignty rights. The modern Greeks -and the western historiography in general - developed a thesis according to which the modern Greeks are shown as the reborn ancient Greeks and Byzantines, and, for some, therefore the heirs of their lands. Turkish textbooks developed a series of defense lines based on various interpretations of historical past. In the 1930 a ‘Historical Turkish Thesis’ was developed and publicized mostly through the textbooks, claiming that all nations of Eurasia, the ancient Greeks included, were evolved from ancient Turks.[6] Later this thesis was attenuated and only the people of Anatolia were presented as ancestors of the present Turks. Thus the Turkish textbooks present the Ionians devoid of any Greek characteristic. The history of Byzantine Empire, which lasted over a thousand years in Anatolia and the lands and the people of which the Ottomans inherited, are almost completely passed over in these textbooks.

The Greeks seem to develop a historical consciousness where the ‘other’ is constantly brought to mind in order to justify the past and foster the present national identity, and the Turks seem to silence a great part of history to strengthen the legitimacy of national sovereignty. In both cases uneasiness, doubt and fear become apparent especially when the recent major changes that occurred in these textbooks are critically examined. The negative attributes of the ‘other’ have been drastically reduced; adjectives of the kind of ‘murderers’ and ‘fanatics’ do not appear in the textbooks any more, probably mostly due to the criticism that came from third parties. However, the general approach with respect to the past and to the ‘other’ has not changed. Both sides still do not attribute any positive characteristics to the neighboring nation, or anything negative to their own part, and the narrative is egocentric. The Turkish side, in the last few years, stresses even more the dangers that the country faces due to irredentist plans of the neighboring countries (mostly without specifying names). The ideological paradigm of a thousand-year-old superior nation of ‘ours’ is still paramount, though can now be traced only in frequent hints.  Students would have to complete the missing part from other sources that the community provides: historiography, literature, oral history, media, movies, etc.


Historiography constructs a national Past


The historiography of the two nation-states in question, especially during the dawn of the ‘nation’, is not much different from the story-telling of history textbooks. In fact, there are cases where an almost perfect harmony is noticed between the textbooks and the ‘officially’ and usually ‘academically’ accepted historiography. The main difference is encountered mostly in the style and in the mode of expression rather than in the essence of what is inferred. The textbook is a simple version of a more detailed history thesis or, inversely, historiography is an extended version of a text that appeared first in a textbook. The historiography can be broadly classified as ‘popular’ when the authors are semi-professional historians, or ‘academic’ when the writers stick closer to the requirements of the academic community. Naturally, the discourse varies, some are clearly advocates of a national thesis, of an ethnic credo; others adhere to academic norms, and then a more reserved language is used and the characterizations are kept to the minimum. Competence, both in research and in expression, varies according to individual capacity.

Greek and Turkish historians who produce works on Greek-Turkish relations, except some rare cases, are annoyingly predictable. The conclusion and the message are almost always the same: ‘we’ had a historic course that was in general fair and honorable, contrary to the ‘other’s’. As I tried to demonstrate on another occasion, four Greek and four Turkish eminent historians, who wrote on the situation in the Balkans during the Ottoman advance in the 15th and 16th century reached completely opposite conclusions: the Turks claimed that the Ottomans were well received by the local Christians, ‘as savors’, the locals were treated with justice and tolerance, and after the conquest the economy of the area developed and the people were satisfied or happy (depending on the degree of enthusiasm the historian chooses to express his views). The Greeks, on the contrary, reached the ‘scientific conclusion’ that the locals reacted to the invasion, revolted repeatedly against the intruder who resorted to harsh measures and that the economy deteriorated causing suffering and even starvation of the Christian and Greek population.[7] When the narration approaches more recent events, the discrepancy increases, as for example is the case with the Cyprus problem.

A closer examination of the texts brings to light the manner (the system) with which the historians manage to reach such contradictory results. Actually the Greeks prefer to propound the situation during the conquest and of the later periods, when the Ottoman State faced economic problems and revolts. The Turkish side ‘notices’ and considers as ‘typical’ the peaceful periods of the ‘classical period’. Another example of this system of selective (and national) historiography is noticed when the status of the millets, i.e. the non-Muslim communities is considered. The Turkish side points to the ‘laws’ and ‘principles’ that were laid down by the state to protect the well-being and the rights of the millets; accepting that there were cases where the dignitaries or the masses violated the ‘laws’ and harmed the millets. The Greeks evaluate the same situation by changing the criteria for judging a situation. They say that the dignitaries and the Muslim masses could at any time harm the non-Muslims even though there were some rights but only on a ‘theoretical’ base. Irrespective of whether this approach is chosen consciously or not, the end result does not change: each side develops a national historiography and two diametrically different past periods.

There are two small categories of historians and writers of history of other disciplines, such as political scientists, economists, and sociologists, etc. who differ. They are critical of ‘our’ history and especially of the state apparatus and to its practices. Traditionally some Marxists who mostly appeared in the second quarter of the 20th century in Greece and in the third quarter in Turkey, on the one hand, and some liberal historians much later, distanced themselves from the official and traditional academic approach.[8] Even though few, they have been influential. Their common starting point is the modern interpretation of the nation. Accepting the relatively recent appearance of the nations they enabled themselves, 1) to distance their present community and themselves from all real or imaginary controversies of the distant past, 2) to feel innocent of and irresponsible for the past wrongdoings of ‘ancestors’, since for them the continuity of the nation did not have a major significance, 3) to consider the ‘other’ innocent of the unhappy past too, since he is also a member of a new community, and finally 4) not to refrain from criticising the wrong doings of ‘our’ (imagined) side since the identification is not immediate any more. Some of these academics developed various common projects with their counterparts of the ‘other’ country.[9] Here, however, we will deal only with the main trend in each country since this main trend determines largely the course of Greek-Turkish relations.


Novels reveal communal visions


The first Greek novel circulated in 1834, five years after the establishing of the Greek national state, whereas the first Turkish novel in 1872, three decades prior to the dawn of the Turkish nationalist movement of Young Turks and fifty years before the establishment of the Turkish national state.[10] The first consequence of this incongruity of nationalism and of the novel becomes apparent in the way the ‘other’ is portrayed in the literary texts of the two respective communities. In the first Greek novels the ‘Turks’ are presented as (meaning they are perceived as) a nation, stereotypically, with common negative characteristics and as the historical enemy. In the first Turcophone novels however, i.e. when national identity was not dominant within the Ottoman society, the Greeks did not appear as a political issue and whenever some Greeks appeared they were not identified as members of a nation, as the ‘other’, but only as (‘neutral’) citizens of the Ottoman state.[11] Some Turkish novelists who did not exhibit a negative ‘other’ in their texts are Şemsettin Sami, Ahmet Mithat, Halit Ziya and Recaizade Ekrem.[12]

Greek authors, such as I. Pitsipios, Gr. Palaiologos, St. Ksenos, D. Vikelas, A. Papadiamantis, portrayed a negative Turk who is in confrontation with ‘us’ right after 1834. On the Turkish side, the first writers to portray a negative ‘Greek’ were Ömer Seyfettin, Halide Edip and Yakup Kadri, who started publishing their works in the second decade of the 20th century. This tendency persisted throughout the 20th century in both countries. From there on, nationalism existed not only as an ideology and as a political movement but also as a rhetoric that ran across all kinds of texts: textbooks, historiography, literature, newspapers, etc. This national discourse undertook to legitimize all military and/or political actions against the ‘other’, who was portrayed stereotypically as an enemy, as a source of various political problems (a threat to ‘our’ freedom), as very different from ‘us’ and as a negative character (dishonest, violent, etc.).

During periods of better bilateral relations and within a more relaxed international milieu the negative image of the ‘other’ is relatively improved, while still preserving his/her main traits. However, a closer inspection reveals that even this positive ‘other’ is a character who is completely assimilated and has become one of ‘us’; he has actually lost his ethnic identity: he thinks, feels and behaves like ‘us’. I call these characters ‘naively positive’ because naiveté characterizes the concept of a positive ‘other’, who actually no longer exists.[13]

This naively positive ‘other’ is especially in abundance when the ‘other’ appears as a woman. Women play a special role in nationalistic discourse. They do not directly participate in the interethnic fights and therefore they are perceived acting as criteria that indicate the righteous side. Their preference counts. They normally fall in love with ‘us’ and prefer ‘our men’. In the novels of the two countries -in real life of course the case is different- among two hundred cases of love affairs between Greeks and Turks, it is always the women of the ‘other’ who prefer to unite with ‘our men’. Cases to the contrary are -according to my findings- completely absent.[14] Among the various reasons that may exist for this sensitivity with respect to our/their women may be the fact that traditionally the wars were marked with the enslavement of the women of the ‘other’ ending up being the wives of the ‘other’, as war trophies. Symbolically the marriage of ‘our woman’ to the ‘other’ may be a sign of defeat. Whatever the reason is, the role assigned to women in nationalistic rhetoric is directly associated with national identity and reveals this identity more than any other parameter.

The political situation and the wars between the two countries (the war of 1897, the Balkan Wars of 1912-1914, the Greek-Turkish clash of 1919-1922) are not enough to explain the negative image of the ‘other’. The literary texts do not ‘take a photograph’ of the actual environment of the writers but ‘sketch’ the ‘other’ in accordance with a nationalist ideology and a constructed past, irrespective of personal experiences. A comparison of the image of the ‘other’ in the memoirs and in the novels of three Turkish authors is revealing. In their memoirs, where real and concrete events are narrated, the Greeks are almost all ‘normal’ and positive personalities, whereas in the novels, written by the same authors and at the same period, they are all, almost without exception, extremely negative.[15] This negative image is in harmony with the images of the ‘other’ encountered in textbooks and historiography.

There are, however, as it is also the case with the historians, a small number of authors who do not exactly follow the recipe. Their case is revealing. It helps in understanding the dynamics that create and reproduce the stereotypes. Greek writers who actually met and lived with the Turks portray a much more realistic picture of the ‘other’ relative to the authors who sketch an imaginary ‘other’.[16] Some Greek writers, who lived in Asia Minor within the Ottoman lands and closer to the Turks, were I. Venezis, Str. Mirivilis, N. Politis and M. Iordanidou. These authors wrote mostly about recent times, about their experiences (1890-1950). Writers who lived only in Greek lands, e.g. M. Karagatsis, Th. Kastanakis, P. Prevelakis, and distanced from Turks, wrote about ‘historical’ Turks, about imagined Turks and ‘old times’ (16th to early 19th century). Literary characters and events that are drawn from ‘life’, in other words heroes who are inspired by concrete personalities, are much more balanced and portray complex and realistic characters. It should be remembered that the same trend is noticed in Turkish literature too. Positive Greeks are encountered either in memoirs, where mostly ‘real’ characters are portrayed, or in literary texts based on actual experience and on concrete encounter with the ‘other’, as it is the case of Sait Faik, of Reşat Nuri Güntekin, Demir Özlü, Sevgi Soysal and many others. These writers do not present ‘historical’ characters but modern and real characters.[17]


Judgments are perceptions


In practice, the bearers of stereotypes, of prejudices, of perceptions, of ideological bias, naturally do not perceive them as such - if they had done so, they would have abandoned them - but as sound judgments, as knowledge, as a result of analysis, as realistic evaluations, etc. The addressees of the textbooks, of historiography, of literature mentioned above, experience these as a source of information. They do not simply believe in them, they perceive ‘truth’ in terms of the paradigm created by them. Each nation has its own interpretation of the past, and more precisely, each community that has a particular view with respect to its (imagined) past, forms its separate nation. The fact of being in harmony with these texts, but also with other commonly accepted sources, such as newspapers, films, etc.[18] which are dominant in a community, signals an identity, in our case a Greek and a Turkish national identity. Those who do not fully comply with the communally accepted ‘truths’ either have not yet acquired a national consciousness, try to introduce a new paradigm (a new frame of relationships) or because they are bearers of another national identity.

Both Greek and Turkish societies have an understanding of the ‘other’ which manifests itself in various texts as shown above. Textbooks are primarily instruments of education and, as such, they show the intentions and the frame of understanding of the states and governments; but at the same time they are documents that exhibit national perceptions. So are historiography and literary texts. The ‘other’ in both the Greek and in the Turkish case is, in general, negative, even though there are various cases that prove the opposite. The general trend is to see the ‘other’ as an unreliable neighbor. The ‘other’ is perceived and portrayed either as an enemy, as an invader, as a potential danger; or, as a product of wishful thinking, as a ‘domesticated other’, as a ‘naively positive other’.

All indications point to the existence of some psychological problems in each society with respect to the image of the ‘other’. The problems seem to exist with the parties as well and not only ‘between the countries’. Various other studies and some opinion polls confirm these findings.[19] Individuals and nations do not behave ‘rationally’ but according to socially determined feelings and perceptions. Communal identities influence these perceptions that operate as judgments, which in turn, in a vicious circle, are used to evaluate the behavior and the views of the ‘other’ negatively, not allowing the overcoming of the ‘security dilemmas’ and of bilateral controversies.

With the above in mind, there are two groups of questions to be dealt with. First, since our perceptions limit and direct our judgments, is it possible for Greeks and Turks to perceive the ‘other’ positively or neutrally? How do we explain the friendly manifestations between Greeks and Turks that appeared after the earthquake of 1999 and the rapprochement of Papandreou-Cem? How can they be interpreted? Second, how can the cases in literary texts where Greeks and Turks perceive a really positive ‘other’ be explained? Can these cases disclose the pathway leading away from stereotypes and all related paraphernalia? How will nationalistic dilemmas be overcome?


Overcoming Security and ‘Other’ Dilemmas


The friendly feelings between Greeks and Turks that inspired the two societies right after the earthquake in Turkey in August 1999 came as a surprise to many. Individuals and NGOs showed unprecedented signs of affection and amiable feelings. Mutual visits increased considerably. In the same period the foreign ministers of the countries started a policy of détente and decreased the political tension at a considerable degree.

There are two schools of thought in each country (it makes four in total!) that advance an optimistic and a pessimistic interpretation of the phenomenon respectively. The pessimists are more cynical and closer to traditional evaluations. They see only a political maneuver and the masses only responding as obedient subjects, to the green light given by the politicians. For them, the two states saw the atmosphere of the earthquakes - the misery that moved the citizens; the heroic acts of the ‘other’ saving ‘our’ people, etc. - as an opportunity to advance their tactics. The (pessimist) Greeks believe that Turkey took advantage of this maneuver and made one more decisive step towards joining the European Union without making any concession; and the (pessimist) Turks believe that Greece managed to transfer the Greek-Turkish disputes to the EU forum having Turkey confronting the whole Union instead of only Greece. Naturally both of these groups are not happy with these so ‘friendly’ relations and they see them either as romantic exaggerations or as sneaky traps of the ‘other’.

Some other Turks perceived Greece as having regretted her past policy and seeing the earthquakes occasion as an opportunity, trying now to comply with Turkey’s ‘reasonable’ demands. These Turks soon started feeling disappointed. Naturally there are Greeks who perceived the Turkish side in the same way and soon felt that ‘the Turks never actually change and insist on their traditional political lines’. Some saw the Greeks sharing a sense of superiority given the opportunity of helping the ‘enemy’ who is clearly in need.  In short the pessimists saw only self-interest in a zero-sum game in every single action of the ‘other’. Some Turks might have expressed their admiration for the Greeks but only to criticize and irritate their own state dignitaries: ‘even the Greeks behaved so nicely helping us, whereas you ...’

The optimists (even though they may accept that most of the above is correct) gave attention to the positive atmosphere created between the two communities and much less to the immediate and short-term political consequences. The improvements in this sphere in the long term would bring only positive results to both parties. The trust created, the changing image of the ‘other’, the decrease of xenophobia, of paranoia, of phobias on national security have liberating effects on the citizens. The less the tension, the better the thinking.

As for the explanation of the phenomenon - the views vary. Some, mistakenly, see the ‘other’ eventually recognizing ‘us’ as worthy of appreciation, esteem and love. In other words they see ‘naively positive others’, those who ‘love us because we deserve it’. Others believe that all the mishaps were caused by the politicians (of the ‘other’ side). The politicians changed, so the situation has changed. Others remembered that ‘people are good at heart’ or that the common enemy, the earthquake, united ‘us’.

All of the above may have played their part. However, it should not escape our attention that the conjuncture that created the positive image of the ‘other’ in literary texts seems to be repeated in Greece and Turkey in the period of the earthquakes. Namely, for the first time the television screens in each home in the two countries presented the ‘other’ as he/she is: real, concrete and alive (not historical). People appeared under the debris, in pain, crying, desperate, as family members, as children, as old people (Whereas the ‘other’ until then appeared as aggressive middle-aged people, mostly in uniform). They looked ‘human’ and not as a threat. The ‘other’ never before appeared like that. Even the players of football, of basketball, etc. before, were by definition the rivals, the obstacle. The citizen of the two countries, in each and every house saw – surprised, I assume - the ‘other’ trying to save ‘us’ (not harm us), and to rejoice when successful, in tears when failed.

All the work of textbooks, of historiography and literature, together with what the society up to that moment had produced with respect to the ‘other’ contradicted with the pictures on the television screens, which, according to the perceptions of the spectators, transmitted nothing but the truth: a shock therapy of images.

It is still too early to say how permanent the friendly feelings that the earthquakes caused in the two communities will prove. It is safe to argue however that the overcoming of nationalistic dilemmas will have to be accomplished in two spheres: (1) combating in the cognitive sphere the typical traits of nationalism, i.e., xenophobia, insecurity, stereotypes, prejudices etc., and (2) in practice, creating opportunities in which the members of the two communities may meet the ‘concrete other’, i.e. increase the communication between the parties.

The first way seems practically difficult. Few are bothered by the effects nationalism and even fewer notice the negative aspects of it. However, ‘practice’ itself, i.e. meeting with the real, existing, current (not historical) ‘other’ may improve the image of the ‘other’ and the capability of ‘ours’ in evaluating the international situation and indirectly overcoming security and ‘other’ dilemmas. Still, everything is interconnected; much will be determined by who is in power: the ‘pessimists’ will hold back the meetings with the ‘other’, the ‘optimists’ will support them. 


[1] John W. Burton, ‘Resolution of Conflict’, International Studies Quarterly, 16, 1 (1972), p. 18.

[2] The main ideas presented here appeared in various publications of the author in Turkish and in Greek. Two major publications that incorporate most of the findings are Hercules Millas, Türk Romanı ve ‘Öteki’- Ulusal Kimlikte Yunan İmajı (İstanbul: Sabancı Yayınları, 2000); and Εικόνες Ελλήνων και Τούρκων - σχολικά βιβλία, ιστοριογραφία, λογοτεχνία και εθνικά στερεότυπα (Athens: Alexandria, 2001).

[3]  Alexis Heraclides, ‘Socialization to Conflict’, National Centre of Social Research, 38 (1980).

[4] Hercules Millas, ‘History Textbooks in Greece and Turkey’, History Workshop, 31, Spring 1991, pp. 21-33.

[5] The Turks interpret the coup d’état of the Greek colonels against Makarios, head of Cyprus in 1974, as a manifestation of Greek (permanent) wish to extend it boarders disregarding agreements and against Turkish interests (thus Greece is irredentist, unreliable, sneaky, followers of Megali Idea) and the Greeks interpret the Turkish intervention as a practical demonstration that the Turks never lose an opportunity to capture Greek lands and keep them under different pretexts, by ethnic cleansing and eventually by enslaving the Greeks (thus the Turks are sneaky, invaders, disrespectful to international law, followers of Ottoman practices).

[6] Büşra Ersanlı, İktidar ve Tarih, Türkiye’de Resmi Tarih Tezinin Oluşumu, 1929-1937 (İstanbul: Afa, 1992 and new addition İletişim, 2003); Hercules Millas, ‘Türk Ders Kitaplarında Yunanlılar: Bütünleştirici Bir Yaklaşım’, in Tarih Eğitimi ve Tarihte Öteki Sorunu (İstanbul: Tarih Vakfı Yurt Yayınları, 1998); Millas, Εικόνες…; and Etienne Coupeaux, Türk Tarih Tezinden Türk-İslam Sentezine (İstanbul: Tarih Vakfı Yurt Yayınları, 1988).

[7] For a general review of Turkish historiography on Greece see Hercules Millas, Yunan Ulusunun Doğuşu (İstanbul: İletişim, 1994), pp. 201-243; and Hercules Millas, ‘Non-Muslim Minorities in the Historiography of Republican Turkey: The Greek Case’, in Fikret Adanır and Suraiya Faroqhi (eds.), The Ottomans and the Balkan: a Discussion of Historiography (Leiden: Brill, 2002), pp. 155-191. For a comparison of Greek and Turkish historiography and the related discourse on the ‘other’ see Millas, Εικόνες, where the texts of the four Greek and four Turkish historians are also given. The eight historians are: K. Paparrigopoulos, A. Vakalopoulos, G. Kordatos, N. Svoronos, İ. H. Uzunçarşılı, K. Karpat, H. İnalcık and M. Kunt.

[8] For analysis of their works, see Millas. ‘Non-Muslim Minorities in the Historiography of Turkey’, pp. 183-187; and Millas, Εικόνες, pp. 311-327.

[9] An example of these projects is the study jointly-conducted by the Greek and Turkish historians, political scientists, anthropologists etc., mostly members of Pantion and Sabancı universities, about the incidents surrounding ‘the fire of Smyrna in 1922’ and the national interpretations that followed. A second example is of course the present book.

[10] Conventionally Leandros by Panayotis Soutsos and Taaşuk-ı Tal’at ve Fitnat by Şemsettin Sami are considered the first Greek and Turkish novels respectively.

[11] Millas, Türk Romanı, pp. 18-35.

[12] Only forty years before the appearance of the first Greek novel, in the decade of 1790, the image of the ‘Muslim Ottoman’ or the ‘Turk’ in Grecophone literature was not negative either, nor was he perceived as a member of a distinct nation, as can be readily noticed in the politically oriented poems (and other writings) of Rigas Velestinlis and of other Grecophone intellectuals. See Millas, Yunan Ulusunun, pp. 87-122 and 257-294.

[13] An example of a naively positive Turkish hero in Greek literature is Moskof Selim in the novelette of 1895 that bears the same name, written by Georgios Viziinos. Selim is presented as a ‘mature and balanced’ person who declares that the Turks should leave Anatolia to the Greeks and go back to the East, to Asia, from where they once came. Naively positive Greeks appear very often in Turkish novels, too, e.g., in the works of Kemal Tahir, Halikarnas Balıkçısı and in many others. These Greek heroes are happy to welcome the Turkish conquerors, fighting against the Christians on the side of the Turks, accepting the ‘superiority’ and ‘magnanimity’ of the Turks; the best among them are willingly converted to Islam.

[14] Hercules Millas, ‘Les Romans Les Femmes et Les Relations Gréco-Turques’, Genese / Oluşum, 60-61 (May/August, 1999), pp. 46-64.

[15] Hercules Millas, ‘The Image of Greeks in Turkish Literature: Fiction and Memoirs’, in Oil on Fire? Textbooks, Ethnic Stereotypes and Violence in South-Eastern Europe (Hannover: Verlag Hahnsche Buchhandlung, 1996), pp. 79-87.

[16] Damla Demirözü, Η Εικόνα του Τούρκου στην Γενιά του ’30, unpublished Diss. (University of Athens, 1999); and Millas, Εικόνες.

[17] Millas, Türk Romanı, pp. 173-212.

[18] For Greek and Turkish newspapers see L. Doğan Tılıç, Utanıyorum, Ama Gazeteciyim (İstanbul: İletişim, 1998). For Greek newspaper and the image of Turkey see, Hercules Millas, ‘1998 Yunanistan Basınında Türkiye’, in Bilanço 1923-1998, Siyaset, Kültür, Uluslararası İlişkiler (İstanbul: Tarih Vakfı, 2000), pp. 341-350.

[19] See for example: Anna Frangoudaki and Thalia Dragona, Τι είν’ η πατρίδα μας; - Εθνοκεντρισμός στην εκπαίδευση (Athens: Αλεξάνδρεια, 1997); Alexis Heraclides, Η Ελλάδα και ο Εξ Ανατολών Κίνδυνος (Athens: Πόλις, 2001). For opinion polls see the poll carried out jointly by PIAR of Turkey and ICAP (GALLUP) of Greece in 1989.


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