Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu continued his three-day visit to Greece with a stopover at the northeast port city of Kavala, where he arrived on Wednesday.
The Turkish FM and his wife stayed at the historical Hotel Imaret in the Old City quarter, which was built between 1817 and 1821 by Muhammad Ali, considered by many as the founder of the modern Egyptian state.
Accompanied by Anna Missirian-Tzouma, president of the Muhammad Ali Institute for the preservation of the oriental heritage, Davutoglu and his wife on Thursday visited the house where the future "wali" of Egypt was born in 1769, located in the Panaghia Peninsula.
Davutoglu toured the house, which was fully restored by the institute within the framework of a bilateral agreement between Greece and Egypt. Both “Imaret” and the house of Muhammad Ali are the property of the Egyptian Vakufs Organization.
Afterwards, the Turkish minister visited the Old Music building (Halil Bey mosque), built in mid 16th century. The old mosque was part of a building complex that included a Muslim seminary school. The buildings are restored and are currently used to host cultural events.
Turkish FM meets Thessaloniki mayor
Visiting Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, speaking after meeting Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris on Thursday, stressed his optimism on the building of a "new Greek-Turkish friendship" and "a new Greek-Turkish axis," while underlining the "good climate in Greek-Turkish relations."
The Turkish Foreign minister also said "we are experiencing a period of very great friendship between the two countries and we can raise these strong bridges of friendship between Thessaloniki and Istanbul and Thessaloniki and Izmir."
Davutoglu further said that "in the past year the number of Turkish tourists in Thessaloniki has doubled, while it has trebled all over Greece" and stressed that he will support the appeal for a wider air, railway and coastal shipping linking of Thessaloniki with Istanbul and other cities in Turkey.
During their meeting, Davutoglu raised the issue with Boutaris of the functioning of a mosque and a moslem cemetery. Boutaris explained that the issue of the mosque is up to the central administration and then, in his statements, reassured him publicly that he will do all that he can to facilitate the moslems "in the exercising of their religious duties and the creation of a cemetery that has been scheduled."
Earlier, Davutoglu visited the Turkish consulate in Thessaloniki where he was received by Turkish consul Hussein Oztemir. Davutoglu was given a guided tour of the historic building's premises where Kemal Ataturk lived and signed the visitors' register.
Government spokesman on Turkish FM's visit to Thrace
Government spokesman George Petalotis, commenting on the visit to Thrace by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, said that "Greece is a hospitable country. And Mr. Davutoglu, just like every foreign visitor, is welcome all over the Greek state, from Evros to Kastelorizo."
Petalotis added that "we hope that his experience, especially from his visit to Thrace, apart from pleasant, would also be instructive."