As a young Greek from a prestigious business school, Panagiotis Afchoudias, 30, surprised his friends when he decided to start his career in Turkey six years ago. “My friends in Greece were skeptical,” Mr. Afchoudias said. “They thought I was leaping into hell, going over to the home of our enemy.”
Such concerns melted away in recent years, however, as Greeks watched their country fall into crisis and the Turkish economy flourish next door. The Greek economy shrank at an annual rate of 7 per cent in the last quarter of 2011, while Turkey enjoyed 9-per-cent growth last year. The sharp difference in growth rates has helped to reverse some long-standing trends: After suffering decades of prejudice and declining numbers, the tiny Greek community in Turkey is enjoying a modest expansion. More than a century of mutual hostility between the two countries has given way to a sevenfold increase in bilateral trade over the past decade.
Mr. Afchoudias, who now works as a business consultant for Greek companies looking to expand into Turkey, says Greeks have let go of their old antagonistic views. Greek businesses are compensating for shrinking domestic sales by moving into the Turkish market, he said, and workers are looking east in search of employment.
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