After stinging Athens, Turkey's Erdogan woos crowds in northern Greece | Reuters
KOMOTINI, Greece (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan gave out toy cars and dolls to children on the final leg of a visit to Greece on Friday, a trip meant to boost ties but which has exposed the deep rifts between the two neighbours.
KOMOTINI, Greece (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan gave out toy cars and dolls to children on the final leg of a visit to Greece on Friday, a trip meant to boost ties but which has exposed the deep rifts between the two neighbours. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan waves as he exits a mosque folowing Friday prayers in the city of Komotini, Greece, December 8, 2017. REUTERS/Alexandros AvramidisErdogan visited the Muslim community in Komotini, a town in northern Greece which once belonged to the Ottoman Empire. A day earlier, he riled his Greek hosts by suggesting the 130,000 Muslims in the region were discriminated against by Athens. “We have made very important decisions to meet the needs of our ethnically Greek citizens, and it is our right to expect similar behaviour from Greece,” he told cheering crowds outside a school in the region. Turkey has frequently found fault with the appointment by Athens of local Muslim clerics - known as Muftis - instead of recognising those elected by the local population. Erdogan is the first Turkish president to visit Greece in 65 years, but he has put Athens on the defensive by remarking that a decades-old treaty needs revision. The treaty, among other things, defines the boundaries between the two countries. None of that controversy was apparent on Friday, as hundreds of well-wishers gathered outside a mosque in Komotini to welcome Erdogan. Aides carried bags stuffed with toys, which Erdogan gave out to children. Some supporters shouted “Leader” as he made his way through the crowds. Greek police snipers were stationed on nearby buildings and security was tight. “Erdogan is very popular among the Muslim community in the area. He is an ordinary person close to the people,” said Ahmet Hoca, 57, a farmer. Closer to Istanbul than to Athens, this community in northern Greece sometimes feels uneasy with the disputes between the two countries, which range from airspace in the Aegean Sea to minority rights. “When someone asks you whom you love more, your mother or your father, what are you supposed to answer? You love them both,” said resident Hussein Kara, 64. After World War One and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne pushed modern Turkey’s borders eastwards. About 1.3 million ethnic Greeks, and 356,000 Turks, moved between Turkey and Greece in a population exchange. The deal excluded Muslim inhabitants of Western Thrace, which includes Komotini, and more than 200,000 Greeks then living in Istanbul. Fewer than 3,000 ethnic Greeks now live in Istanbul.
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police used teargas and water cannon to disperse people who had gathered in central Athens on Saturday to protest against mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations. More than 4,000 people rallied outside the Greek parliament for a third time this month to oppose mandatory inoculations for some workers, such as healthcare and nursing staff.
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Two Turkish soldiers were killed and two were wounded in an attack on their armoured vehicle in northern Syria, and Turkish forces immediately launched retaliatory fire, Turkey's defence ministry said on Saturday. "Our punitive fire against terrorist positions is continuing," the statement on Twitter on said. It did not specify where the attack occurred, but media reports said it was in the al-Bab area.
By Marcelo Rochabrun SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Protesters took to the streets in several Brazilian cities on Saturday to demand the impeachment of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, whose popularity has fallen in recent weeks amid corruption scandals against the backdrop of the pandemic. This week, news broke that Brazil's defense ministry told congressional leadership that next year's elections would not take place without amending the country's electronic voting system to include a paper trail of each vote. Bolsonaro has suggested several times without evidence that the current system is prone to fraud, allegations that Brazil's government has denied