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As our hearts skipped a beat out of fear we would collide head-on with the cars coming from the opposite direction, our driver burst out laughing, “I am mafia driver.”
All roads in Athens lead to Syntagma square and from there to the Acropolis.
The house of the gods, the Acropolis attracts thousands of tourists every day. Those tourists flock to Syntagma, the shrine of democracy, to watch the changing of the guards dressed in their fancy skirts and traditional outfits.
Our mafia driver Costas breaks all the rules to escape the traffic jam leading to Syntagma, crossing over to the opposite lane. Fortunate for us the drivers coming from the opposite lane were accustomed to such practices and they made room for us to pass. And so we gained at least half an hour.
I say, ‘Erdoğan says he will suddenly come one night,’ and they laugh.
Athens, weary of the pandemic, was only able to recover this summer.
The number of tourists visiting Athens reached post-pandemic figures.
Greece was able to overcome the serious economic crisis of the past with the EU’s assistance but also with tourism revenues.
Thus, tourism is the focal point of all the islands, including the capital Athens.
Everything is designed according to tourists.
The restaurants and taverns in the Plaka district were extremely crowded.
Tourists from all corners of the world would have to wait in lines to enter the taverns.
No one, including our ‘mafia driver’ Costas takes the war-mongering seriously. We find the opportunity to talk with many people including Turks living in Athens.
The joint view they express is;
There are elections coming up in Turkey and all this has to do with the elections.
They all believe that Erdoğan’s threats in the form of ‘we will suddenly come’, and his vulgar tone is aimed at Turkey’s nationalist and conservative voters.
Greece and Athens are currently under the shadow of US arms.
There are military bases being set up across every corner of Greece, which has been designated as a logistics hub by the US.
The war in Ukraine is impacting the region today but is no deterrent to the millions of tourists visiting coasts of Turkey or the Greek islands in the Aegean sea.
Just like Erdoğan’s threats.