“Face,” Stereotyping, and Claims of Power: The Greeks and Turks in Interaction


1. Introduction

Greece and Turkey are situated at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, and their inhabitants have had a long history of cultural interaction even though their languages are neither genetically nor typologically related and the two also differ in terms of religion. This interaction, however, has been conflict-ridden and rather turbulent and as such it presents intriguing academic interest in intercultural communication (besides its political dimensions). This long history of coexistence must have left its traces, while the specific location may indicate that both Greeks and Turks must have received cultural influences from both East and West.

In recent years, there have been systematic attempts to overcome animosity and build mutual rapprochement and trust between the two peoples. Especially after the disastrous earthquakes which struck at about the same time Turkey (August 1999) and Greece (September 1999) and humanitarian aid was sent and reciprocated, the media, politicians, and civilians alike started talking about the “Greco-Turkish friendship” and the “earthquake diplomacy.” In this framework, TV programs appeared on both sides of the Aegean. These include the reality game show “Survivor,” in which a group of Greeks and a group ...

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