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Category: Interviews »

Subject: Cultural Studies »

Relations between Turks and Greeks

Hakan Akyol.

Hakan Akyol reflects on the relations between Turks and Greeks in Melbourne



Date Added:

17 February 2009


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mov (Quicktime);

File size:

7.3 MB






On a personal level in terms of how my parents and their neighbours, including Greek neighbours, got along, incredibly famously. There was never an issue. Even when there were issues for instance during the conflict in 1974, in terms of (UNCLEAR 00:29) Cyprus, the community as a whole – just in terms of just a personal sort of contact level, neighbours there was never an issue, there was talk, there was sadness about it. The higher you get up in terms of sort of leadership, community profile that you have then the stronger those sentiments sometimes have occurred.


Often the – some of those sentiments are conveyed not necessarily for the domestic audience but it’s actually certain leaders that are conveying it for a country of origin, sort of audience or the media, etcetera. And sometimes where there has been flare ups here over other issues, not necessarily in terms of Greek Turkish relationships, the reactions by some leaders here have been stronger than the reactions back in the country of origin and they’re sort of saying, “Hey guys calm down!”


In terms of extending that into my sort of student life and also in terms of my – the professional life, career life, I mean, the chairperson of the commission is George Lekakis, obviously of Greek background, and I’ve been his deputy for a short while but we’ve had a working relationship for almost 20 years so he was my supervisor and my – as a social work student in 1987 and from that a friendship had sort of formed and we’ve sort of been working together directly or indirectly since that time.


So, people do note that still, even today that they say, “Oh how does that work out? Him being Greek and you being of Turkish background?” And we’ve got along well and the vast majority of cases are – issue – has been one of sort of, similarities, sort of culturally etcetera. Obviously there’s a – really there’s a differential but in terms of the intermingling within the Turkish community and the Greek community, and in terms of whether it be at the lower economic socio status in a factory settings, in the – in other sort of settings and in business etcetera, is there are certainly more cultural similarities and norms and attitudes than differences.


End transcript