The Mayor of Istanbul is paying a two-day, official reciprocal visit to Athens from today. Ekrem Imamoglou, accepting the invitation of the Mayor of Athens, Costa BakoyannisThe last was found in Constantinople last May, signing -in a very warm climate- a memorandum of understanding and cooperation with Mr. Imamoglou in the fields of culture and tourism. Both, after all, are fanatical proponents of “urban diplomacy”, building “bridges” of communication, friendship and mutual understanding between their citizens, while they have developed good chemistry and among themselves, such that they visit together Ecumenical Patriarchate at Fanari, where they were received by the Ecumenical Patriarch, Mr. Bartholomew, gathering the intense interest of the Turkish media.
“I believe that together we will be able to carry out the historical responsibility, in order to build the beautiful Athens-Istanbul peace bridge that is full of beautiful feelings” said Mr. Imamoglou, who works systematically for his country’s bridges with the West, causing intense nervousness to the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Hailing from Trabzon and active for many years in football – first as a player and then as a manager – the Mayor of Istanbul with the anointing of the CHP bears many similarities with the current leader of Turkey on his way to the top, so many they see in the face of Imamoglou ideal successor of Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Presidency, although they reflect two completely opposite aspects of the neighboring country. The socialist, pro-European, tolerant of other ethnicities, but also a religious Muslim Imamoglu exudes atmosphere of secularism which negatively excites the sworn followers of President Erdogan, Sunnis, largely illiterate, religious, representatives of the low income and social strata of Turkey.
Most importantly, however, Imamoglu’s double victory in 2019 in the Istanbul mayoral election (elections were held twice due to marginal level) left the AKP for the first time with one of its traditional electoral strongholds, which seems insurmountable for President Erdogan. Close to this is added the philosophy of the Imamoglou administration for one “Social municipalityTo the point that it is multiplying vertically this year the units of the municipal bread production company, leaving the Turkish President “unarmed” politically in front of the majority of the citizens of Istanbul, who are experiencing moments of extreme poverty. Although the launch of Imamoglou due to his populism greatly disturbs Ankara, for the Greek government his two-day presence in Athens is an independent initiative in the separation of etiquette plans among elected officials of the Local Government, holding today’s meeting of the Prime Minister in the Maximos Palace away from the framework of government manipulations in Greek relations, which have been “warmed up” for the last twenty-four hours.
In the meantime, President Erdogan’s disgust – shortly before leaving Istanbul for the 76th UN General Assembly in New York – over his impending “meeting” with Mr. Mitsotakis did not go unnoticed by Maximos Palace. Asked about this, the Government Spokesman, Giannis Oikonomou, explained yesterday how “If Mr. Erdogan extends his stay in New York since the prime minister will not be there to make the request then he will be diplomatically examined and answered and I think they will be answered positively.». In any case, “so far there is nothing new for the presence of the two leaders in the US,” Mr. Economou repeated.
According to the official schedule of Imamoglou’s visit, the Mayor of Istanbul will visit tomorrow Tuesday at 11.15 am. the City Hall of Athens, where we will meet with Mr. Bakoyannis. Then, at one o’clock in the afternoon, the two Mayors will visit the Maximos Palace, where they will have a half-hour meeting with the Prime Minister, Kyriako MitsotakiIn the afternoon, the Mayor of Athens, Costas Bakogiannis will accompany Mr. Imamoglou on a tour of the archaeological site of the Acropolis, while at 21.00 you will visit the Herodion to watch the show together Monica Bellucci, Maria Callas: Letters and MemoriesThe
In addition, as part of the tour of the Mayor of Istanbul in Athens, tomorrow at 11.30 am. There will be a visit to the Ancient Agora, while after Mr. Imamoglou you will visit -accompanied by the Mayor of Athens- the area of Syntagma Square and the Zappeion, in order to see the urban regeneration projects that are taking place in the area. At 16.30 in the afternoon of the same day, a visit will be made to the exhibition “Portals” of the Organization of Culture and Development NEON at the former Public Tobacco Factory, in Lenorman, while Mr. Imamoglou will leave tomorrow night for Istanbul.
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