Pursuing happiness, Greeks and Turks find one another

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ATHENS — A short decade ago, a blink in the centuries of bad blood between Greeks and Turks, there was “no way” a Turkish store could have opened at a fancy mall in Athens. So said Elena Kanellopoulou, 60, as she meandered through Athens’ first megamall, stopping a few steps from an upscale women’s shop with a clock in the display window showing the time in Istanbul.

The clock is a subtle way of showing that the shop is owned by a Turkish chain, like the shoe store next door and two other shops in the new mall. It is perhaps a risky move, because Greeks defiantly still call the city Constantinople.

But the remarkable thing for Ms. Kanellopoulou, considering that her parents were driven from Turkey in 1922, is that buying from Turks is now unremarkable. “I shop,” she said, “and I have no problem with it.”

All is definitely not forgiven, but a warmer climate between Greece and Turkey is showing up in the daily lives of Greeks. From pricey stores to growing tourism, from belly dancing to a Turkish television show popular here with its Romeo-and-Juliet theme played out by a Greek man and a Turkish woman, cultural barriers are eroding here. Such things are changing faster, perhaps, than the political differences that still divide the two nations...

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