Born as Greek citizen, ‘proud’ to be Turkish minister
ANKARA – Anatolia News Agency
Health Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu. AA photoNewly appointed Health Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu is “proud” to be a Turkish minister, despite having been born and raised on Greek soil as a Greek citizen until the age of 28.
“If a man, born as Greek citizen, raised as a Greek citizen until the age of 28, who lived here [in Turkey] as a stateless man for four years, can become a minister in this country, that means this nation has great values and wealth,” said Müezzinoğlu, adding that he was “proud to be a minister of Turkish Republic.”
Müezzinoğlu, a Greek of Turkish descent, was born in Komotini, located in Western Thrace. He was granted Turkish citizenship at the age of 31.
“My God, may nobody live in the harsh conditions of being born to a country other than your motherland. There are people [Turks] living [in Greece] under these circumstances at a time when we are providing civilization to the world,” he said.
“I have become citizen of this country at the age of 31. I am 58 now and became a minister of this country. I thank the great leader [the founder of Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal Atatürk]. I thank [Prime Minister] Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. I owe them both a debt of gratitude,” he added.
Müezzinoğlu is the founder of the Western Thrace Education, Culture Foundation, the Balkan Civilizations Association, as well as the Cooperation and Solidarity Foundation of Avcılar. He speaks Greek, English and Arabic.
Müezzinoğlu is also a founder of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).