Former Greek citizen Turkish Health Minister participates to the Greece’s national day reception
ANKARA - Hürriyet
The Turkish health minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu was born in Komotini in 1955 and did not become a Turkish citizen until the age of 31. AA photoThe Greek mission in Turkey hosted a special guest on March 26 for a reception honoring March 25, Greece’s Independence Day: Turkish Health Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu, who was born a Greek citizen in Komotini but was stripped of his citizenship after settling in Turkey.
Müezzinoğlu surprised his hosts as the government had informed the embassy that its representative as “guest of honor” would be Development Minister Cevdet Yılmaz. Traditionally, the guest of honor makes a congratulatory speech together with the hosting ambassador. However Müezzinoğlu accompanied Yılmaz without having given notice beforehand, making a symbolic gesture to the country of birth.
The Turkish health minister was born in Komotini in 1955 and did not become a Turkish citizen until the age of 31. Müezzinoğlu studied medicine in Turkey but could not practice his profession after returning to Greece because of governmental pressure on people of Turkish origin living in Western Thrace. Müezzinoğlu entered Turkey at the age of 28 by crossing the Maritsa river and lost his Greek citizenship because he had exited the country illegally. He was subsequently unable to acquire a visa to visit Greece for 18 years.
“If a man, born a Greek citizen and 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,” Müezzinoğlu said after being named minister following a Cabinet shuffle in January.