POLITICS > Name of Greek city causes diplomatic crisis between Turkey, Greece


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Bekir Bozdağ stops on the road connecting the Turkish and Greek border gates to greet the soldiers from the two countries. AA photo

Bekir Bozdağ stops on the road connecting the Turkish and Greek border gates to greet the soldiers from the two countries. AA photo

Two Turkish dignitaries were refused entry into Greece because their places of birth were listed as Komotini's Turkish name of "Gümülcine" in their passports, daily Hürriyet reported today.
The general director of the Research Center for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA), Halit Eren; Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy Mehmet Müezzinoğlu; and his wife, Faize Müezzionoğlu, were accompanying Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ during a trip to western Thrace. 
The delegation was set to visit certain locations in western Thrace by land and made their exit from the İpsala border gate in the Turkish province of Edirne but was denied entry at the Kipi border gate in Greece. 
Greek officials refused entry to Eren, Müezzinoğlu and his wife on the grounds that their passports stated their places of birth as "Gümülcine," the Turkish word for Komotini. 
The situation was quickly reported to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, who in turn advised the embassy in Athens to contact the Greek Foreign Ministry. The matter was carried to the office of Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras as other measures failed to bear results. 
Eren, Müezzinoğlu and his wife had to break from the group and return to Turkey to have their passports renewed to display their place of birth as Komotini. The trio was granted entry the next day after the city name on their passports was changed. 
He said the Greeks were enforcing a recently enacted agreement between Greece and Turkey that requires Turks born in Greece to use the Greek name of their place of birth and Greeks born in Turkey to use the Turkish name of their place of birth. 

“I have been to Western Thrace numerous times but this regulation was never enforced by Greece,” Müezzinoğlu said. "Greece does what suits it.”


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8/22/2012 3:46:06 PM

One and only time I had to face Greek border police (against my wish, being dragged to one of these islands where they serve a bad version of Turkish food and even worse wine) I had the exact same treatment and after 5 hrs of baking in the sun, high tailed back to beautiful Anatolia.

Titormos Agrinio

8/22/2012 1:08:44 PM

@ kenan atagün You could write FYROM which is the official name.It bothers us a lot because Macedonia is a Greek province and Greek name since 1000 B.C.It's the same problem if we call for example Alexandrouplis(in Western Thrace) Instanbul and want all the area of istanbul for Greece.It's quite complicated we can't discuss it here!

american american

8/22/2012 9:42:52 AM

then you all agree to stop calling jerusalem kudus?

kerem atan

8/22/2012 12:56:45 AM

@Titormos Agrinio its easier to write Macedonia rather than Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.who bothers writing the full name ?

Titormos Agrinio

8/21/2012 11:09:33 PM

@ kenan atagün When did you come to Greece for the last time?I was in Instambul 5 years ago n i want to go again for holidays.For the modern people there is no more hate between the 2 countries.And the Turks are always welcome in Greece and Greek islands.I don't think it is too hard to understand it.Before the crisis 400.00Greeks each year were visiting Turkey for holidays...

Titormos Agrinio

8/21/2012 11:00:24 PM

@ dogan kemal ileri It is nt a pedantic issue like u said it is the typical control of the borders.Would u like me t enter turkish borders with passport of Byzantine empire for example?The news in greece did nt gave somuch importance to this issue.I can't understand why the Turks here who write comments talk in this way about the Greeks for holidays.I would suggest them to come n see themselves.

Erik Johansson

8/21/2012 10:18:42 PM

An agreement is an agreement of course, but a little flexibility is always helpful. Perhaps some of the Greek hypersensitivity could be explained with the 400 year long Ottoman occupation.

dogan kemal ileri

8/21/2012 10:05:14 PM

So what has the Greek border guard gained by making a complete nuisance of himself after all these people refused entry over a pedantic issue of where they were born. The Two Turkish dignitaries accompanied by a cabinet minister who obviously vouched fot the two dignitaries all to no avail because a minor official had that I am important person moment ..By the way we have a journalist frequenting the opinions pages who constantly uses antiquated Greek names instead of current Turkish ones.

Titormos Agrinio

8/21/2012 9:58:44 PM

@ kenan atagün The Greeks are nt obsessed with names of countries or cities if they are nt written in official pages or documents.U want to talk(as I understand)about Fyrom and the Greek name of Macedonia.Do u think that is fair for sb to use ur name without right?The names of cities can be called freely unless they are nt in official documents.Why do u find difficult t wright its official name?


8/21/2012 9:58:00 PM

If they are so obsessed with names, they shouldn't call Istanbul Konstantinopolis either.
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