Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Omer Celik met with Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris, in Ankara and thanked him for his sensitivity over the protection of Turkish and Ottoman artifacts in Thessaloniki. Boutaris told Turkish reporters about the construction of a mosque in Athens that, “This is an issue for the Greek government. As far as I know, the Greek government has decided to construct a mosque in Athens.”
Çelik was quoted as saying, by the Anatolia news agency, “The restoration of founder of the Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s home in Thessaloniki has been completed. An inauguration ceremony will be held for the site in April. We request that the mayor name a square by the house the Square of Gazi Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.”
Boutaris said that the construction of planned mosques in Thessaloniki was on Greece’s agenda, adding, “This issue will be solved in the course of time. It is no longer unclear.” He also added that he considers Turks the “brothers” of Greek people, while considering Europeans “partners.”
Boutaris also met with Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek in order to discuss projects in Ankara. “We cannot move forward if we do not embrace and respect our past. We have many points in common with the Turks,” Boutaris told Gökçek.