President Erdogan lands in Thrace

8 December 2017
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Around 1,000 people welcomed the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the mosque in Komotini with applause, slogans and cheers.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan landed at the Alexandroupolis airport in Thrace, amid concerns by the Greek government that the Turkish President could exploit his visit to the region and inflame nationalistic sentiments among the large Muslim population. The Turkish President is scheduled to visit minority schools after he prays at the Mosque.

Already about one hour before arriving in Komotini, where he will pray in the mosque of the city and have meetings with local actors, people have gathered in the area waiting to be welcome him.

A little before 11:30 am a crowd was in the mosque, waiting to see the Turkish president. The people were only allowed to pass after a security check with special metal detectors, while Turkish-born mayors, municipal and regional councillors, including Leven Sadik, the wealthy son of the nationalist leader of the Turkish-speaking Thracians Ahmet Sadik, with numerous personal security, arrived.

According to sources, Muslims from the region and surrounding areas have arrived with buses at the designated area Mr. Erdogan will speak, while there are reports that more of his supporters are expected from the Turkish cities of Constantinople, Bursa and Adrianopolis.

Mr. Erdogan is scheduled to pray at the Kir Mashala Mosque in Komotini at 12 pm where around 1,000 people have reportedly already arrived. The Turkish consulate in Komotini estimates there will be between 10 to 15 thousand people at the reception of the Turkish President.

Greek authorities are concerned that extreme elements of the Muslim minority could show up at the open speech with Turkish flags and other banners with separatist content, after Mr. Erdogan’s provocative statements in Athens.

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