On Saturday, the Turkish authorities did not allow the regional governor of Central Macedonia, Apostolos Tsitsikostas, to enter the country through the port of Izmir. They detained him for six hours, and in the end he was forced to return to Greece.
The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued an angry statement demanding sufficient explanation from Turkey. Tsitsikostas arrived in Izmir new ferry lineconnecting Thessaloniki at 11:30 am to preside over the 13th Euro-Mediterranean General Assembly (ARLEM).
According to reports, when Mr. Tsitsikostas got off the ship in the port of Izmir, he was surrounded by Turkish police officers and asked to follow them to the port authority area. Then, after a six-hour wait, the Turks, without giving him a clear explanation about the detention, forced him to board the ferry again and return to Thessaloniki.
According to the ANT1 TV channel, Tsitsikostas was not allowed into Turkey due to the fact that he was marked as “persona non grata”. The Turkish authorities later stated that they had made a mistake and his name looked like someone else’s. Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency accused Tsitsikostas of leaving the country early Saturday evening, saying it was a “technical problem.” Tsitsikostas commented to the media: “The ban on his entry into Turkey was unacceptable.” As expected, this incident has heated up already tense relations between the two neighboring countries.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs published statementwhich states that it immediately demanded an explanation for the “unacceptable and completely unlawful detention and entry ban” of the regional governor of Central Macedonia, stressing that from the first moment there was a mobilization of the Greek Embassy in Ankara and the Consulate General in Izmir.
“We unreservedly condemn the unacceptable and wholly unlawful detention and ban on the entry of the governor of Central Macedonia carried out today by the Turkish authorities in Smyrna. We await immediate explanations from the relevant Turkish authorities and urge them to take the necessary measures to avoid similar incidents in the future. Embassy of Greece in Ankara , as well as the Consulate General in Izmir, mobilized from the first moment by making relevant statements at the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”