The Muslim cemetery in Halkidiki, in which the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued an announcement about on Wednesday, is without tombstones and therefore without monumental character and archaeological value, said the mayor of Nea Propontida.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry accused Athens with providing a lack of information on the “discovery of a Muslim cemetery.”
There was a Turkish-speaking village in the area of the cemetery until the regions liberation from the Ottoman Empire in 1912 and the 1923-24 population exchange between Greece and Turkey.
In January 2020, the Municipality of Nea Propontida, within the administrative boundaries of Simantra, began excavating a plot of land in order to build an indoor gym.
An archaeologist is always present during excavation work and he located the old cemetery.
The archeological works in this area were exhaustive and lasted a long time.
They were completed a year later and the plot was freed from archeological research and given to the Municipality in order to continue the project since no important findings were found.
The mayor of Nea Propontida, Emmanuel Karras, said in a statement to Sputnik Hellas that the Municipality spent a respectable amount of time for archeological excavations and that “there was in no case any looting or desecration.”
“As always and provided by the current legislation, an archaeologist was present at the works,” he said.
“So in this case, when the work began in early 2020, archaeologists considered that findings of interest were found,” Karras explained.
“The works were stopped immediately for archeological research,” the mayor continued.
“In a letter on February 10, 2021, the Ephorate of Antiquities of Halkidiki and Mount Athos informed us that research has been completed and we could begin work,” Karras highlighted.
“We clearly trust and fully respect the work of the archaeological service,” he continued.
“The municipality spent a respectable amount of time on research, waiting 13 whole months,” Karras said.
“There was in no case looting or desecration,” the mayor continued.
“This is completely false. We acted as a municipality in this, which is provided according to the current legislation,” he concluded.