The Mayor of Edirne, Turkey, Recep Gürkan, has come under attack on social media for welcoming tourists to his province with multilingual posters put up all over the city. Some posters were in Greek and used the Greek version of the city’s name, Adrianoupolis.
Edirne, near the three-way national border between Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria, has become a tourism hotspot in recent years in part due to the city’s location. Its popularity is also due to the 30-percent drop in the value of the Turkish Lira against the euro and U.S. dollar during 2018.
Mayor Recep Gürkan was quoted in one of the posters on display along the city’s central avenue of Saraçlar as saying “We wish that 2019 will bring peace and happiness to the world.”
Gürkan even referred to himself as “the Mayor of Adrianoupolis” in Greek on other posters.However, despite the streets of the city being filled with tourists from neighboring Greece and Bulgaria, there was a backlash by Turkish nationalists on social media, criticizing the move by the mayor.
“OK, it is a nice gesture. But our city’s name is written in the Bulgarian posters as Edirne, but it is Adrianoupolis in the Greek posters. Mr. Mayor, this is not a Byzantine city,” said Veysel Güner, the president of the Edirne July 15 Democratic Youth Association.
“It has been the capital of the Ottoman Empire for 88 years,” Güner told the Anadolu Agency in an interview.
Gürkan had issued no rebuttal to the outcry against the multilingual New Year posters as of Friday.
The mayor is certainly not alone in his attempt to reach out to tourists. In fact, all of the shop windows display signs and prices in both Greek and Bulgarian, and there is a constant flow of tourism as large numbers of people from those nations take weekend bus trips to shop in the city.