Can people coming from countries in conflict become friends? Here in Exeter, friends come before the conflict of countries. Friendship is strong and definetely not affected. 

Greece and Turkey have been at odds for hundreds of years despite many commonalities. The conflict started back when Turkey was known as the Ottoman Empire. They had many other issues after that but friends do not let this conflict ruin their friendship. Mark Butrosoğlu, from Turkey and Dimitrios Kanellopoulos, from Greece, get along very well and they are fully aware of what happened between their countries. They were able to avoid what happened in the past and instead, they became friends.

Dimitrios said: “I would not let the conflict between our countries affect our friendship. I know, a lot happened between Greece and Turkey but such thing cannot determine friendship.”

Greece and Turkey had a lot going on; some people still can’t get over it and they prefer not to interfere with each other, which is totally understandable. Some people, prefer to get over it and try it. Mark and Dimitrios met five weeks ago, when Summer School started.

“We are in the same dorm and we met when we first came here,” said Mark. “We simply avoided the conflict between our nationalities and became friends. Both of us, are more than happy with making the decision of becoming friends.”

Dimitrios agreed. “Either way, what happened between Turkey and Greece was a long time ago,” he said. “We left history behind and became friends.”

Saudi Arabia and Israel had a huge conflict which is still going on. This conflict is based on the Arab-Israeli War. People tend to take this issue more seriously because it still is going on. There are many people from Saudi Arabia here, and there is one person from Israel. Since this issue has many different aspects, people have different opinions. Even though it is hard to control, students here always respect each other. Students don’t judge people by their nationalities.

“It is not my right to judge people by their nationality,” said Faisal Kutbi. “I think it is better to get to know people instead of judging them by how they look.” 

Manaa Al Otaibi said: “We won’t let the conflict between our countries affect the respect we have to show each other.” Beyond showing respect, they get along very well, which is remarkable. Johnny Taic, from Israel said: “I think we understand each other great and I love hearing their opinions and their political reasonings and also their cultures and what they think about all those issues in the Middle East, for example Palestine and what to do with this territory.”

Johnny continued: “I also speak with Lebanese kids. Every single night I talk to my Lebanese friends; they have all these problems in the Middle East and we are not only talking about normal stuff.” Lastly, Johnny said: “I think we always talk and we always have our arguments but at the same time, we always come to this conclusion, and everyone has their own opinions, and we all have the same opinion but we express them in different ways.”