ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey has begun restorations of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s birth house in Thessaloniki following complaints from Culture Minister Ertuğrul Günay that the dwelling was in an “appalling” state.
“I was appalled when I saw the situation of Atatürk’s house,” Günay was recently quoted as saying by daily Hürriyet.
Apart from articles of clothing, nothing inside the house belonged to Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey.
“The couch is worn out although it is not even the original couch that Atatürk
used. They could get it fixed,” he said.
“The display is so outdated; that house was given to us by the Municipality of Thessaloniki in the 1930s, and some other people had resided in the house [beforehand],” said Günay.
Following a series of discussions with the Greek
government, Günay and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu
initiated restoration work under the sponsorship of businessman Serdar Bilgili.
“We organized a project which would cover the years 1880s to the 1940s describing Atatürk’s life from his early childhood to his final days. How the Balkans and the schools he attended affected his life will be one of the themes. The political, social and geographical significance of both the Balkans and Turkey will be presented chronologically,” the culture minister said.
Multimedia displays will also be created in Turkish, English and Greek, he said. “We organized a project about it. We worked together with the Foreign Ministry and Greece. I also requested a favor from a private enterprise to expedite the process and Serdar Bilgili took on the sponsorship.”
Bilgili will conduct renovations for the “Zübeyde Hanım” house – the dwelling of Atatürk’s mother – in Akaretler, according to Hürriyet.
“All formalities are done. I’m going to pay a visit for the restorations,” he said.