Athens and Izmir (Smyrni) Mayors meet in Greek capital

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The Mayor of Athens Kostas Bakoyannis and Mayor of Izmir (Smyrni) Tunc Soyer met in Athens on Tuesday.

Welcoming Soyer, Bakoyannis spoke of “a prominent representative of the local government, with a European orientation and open horizons.”

He noted that they discussed boosting the two cities’ collaboration in culture and tourism through an exchange of practices.

In an announcement, the city of Athens noted that the meeting of the two mayors can serve as a bridge of peace, cooperation and development between peoples, especially because it is held at this current juncture, highlighting the value of the so-called ‘city diplomacy.’

“We cannot allow [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan to hold hostage the relations between our two peoples,” Bakoyannis observed.

“We must strive for stability, for peace and we – as the representatives of local government – must do it from the bottom up, building bridges,” he stressed after the meeting.

Soyer noted that with Bakoyannis they “discussed and found many ways to improve our relations and consolidate peace and development in the region.” He added that “cities cannot be enemies, they can only be brothers or friends,” and he underlined that “the future of humanity will be the sustainability of cities, and to this end we must first and foremost improve relations between us for the good of our peoples – now and in the future.”

The two mayors also visited the “Athens Photo World” exhibition (May 20-29) at the National Garden, which showcases the work of Reuters photographers on the theme of nature and the environment.