OPINION

Hope lies in DNA

Turkey is a country that has taken some very important steps over the past decades that are obvious at first sight, especially in Istanbul and other coastal cities. In terms of infrastructure, entrepreneurship, cultivating an outward-looking approach and in education it has made great leaps, while a new elite of businessmen have opened up to foreign markets, such as Russia, where Turkish constructions firms are in charge of major projects. In the education sector, Turkey has managed to attract private capital in order to achieve successful collaboration between the state and private institutions. The premises of certain Turkish universities, as well as their academic results, have left Greek universities far behind in the dust of petty politics and union activity. Turkey today is enjoying a new dynamism and self-confidence – hardly surprising when it enjoys growth of 6 percent and prominent foreign analysts rank it beside India in terms of its future role in the global economy. Some, however, will argue that Turkey also suffers from significant problems on the domestic front and social inequality. The country’s recent history shows how easily it flirts with political upheaval and turmoil. The difference with the past, however, is that Turkey today has a large middle class with a strong survival instinct that will preserve its interests. The old Kemalist elite may resist change but eventually it will adapt to it. Greece and Turkey could not be at more opposite ends of the psychological spectrum. Turkey today is in many ways similar to Greece in the euphoric year of 2004, but it is dealing with its prosperity more soberly and tackling the issues that have held Greece back. The Easter service reminded me how deeply entrenched in the Greek DNA is the instinct to adapt and inevitably to survive even the most adverse circumstances. This gave me optimism for a Greece that for several years now has been unable to rein in its worst side.