Turkish mayor under fire for welcoming tourists with Greek sign
The mayor of Edirne, a province near Turkey’s border with Greece and Bulgaria, has come under fire for congratulating the New Year of tourists with multilingual posters in which the city’s name was written in Greek as Adrianoupolis.
Posters celebrating the New Year in Turkish, Greek and Bulgarian languages were hung all over the walls and windows of the stores in Turkey’s northwestern province of Edirne, which has been attracting more tourists from the neighboring two countries in the last six months.
“We wish that 2019 will bring peace and happiness to the world,” Mayor Recep Gürkan was quoted in one of the posters on the city’s central avenue of Saraçlar.
On social media, nationalists lashed out at Gürkan, who was written as “the mayor of Adrianoupolis” in the Greek language posters.
“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. It has been the capital of the Ottoman Empire for 88 years,” Edirne July 15 Democratic Youth Association president Veysel Güner told the state-run Anadolu Agency.
Gürkan did not respond to critics as of Jan. 4 morning.
The depreciation in the Turkish Lira’s value against the euro and U.S. dollar - around 30 percent since the start of 2018 - has drawn a huge number of visitors from Greece and Bulgaria, according to Gürkan’s earlier statements.
A large number of people from Bulgaria and Greece have been taking buses on weekends to travel to the western Turkish province of Edirne for shopping since then.
In the face of the strong interest from neighboring countries, the city’s businesspeople have put price lists in Bulgarian and Greek on their shop windows. Even Bulgarian online shopping websites have been launched and little “dictionaries” have been prepared to help potential Bulgarian and Greek customers.