Greece’s first lady Betty Baziana and her Turkish counterpart Emine Erdogan stayed indoors in an Athens hotel as the Turkish PMs wife was declared too unwell to go on the customary sight-seeing tour of Athens.
The Greek PM’s wife presented the Turkish first lady with a book with drawings by refugee children and said both Greece and Turkey had been adversely affected by the refugee crisis and also discussed the need to protect especially unaccompanied children and to reunite families who were separated during the refugee crisis.
There is speculation citing security concerns for Emine Erdogan’s decision to stay indoors as anti-Erdogan protestors took to the streets on Thursday despite a police ban.
Groups of leftist and anti-establishment groups and political committees of Kurds and Turks protested the Turkish President’s visit and shouted slogans against Erdogan such as “the people do not need protectors” and called for the release of nine Kurds and Turks arrested recently by Greek police in Athens on terrorism charges.
“We call on the people of Greece to defend the fighters from Turkey and express its international solidarity against the persecution of the imperialists and their associates because the struggle of oppressed peoples is common,” said the groups in a joint press release.
Members of the Kurdistan Cultural Center also participated carrying banners with “Freedom to Ocalan” (referring to the jailed Kurdish leader) and “Erdogan, dictator”, they protested Erdogan’s violence against the Kurdish people.
Initially the protesters rallied at Omonia Square, then marched on Stadiou Street to Propylea on Panepistimiou, where they burned a poster with Erdogan’s image.
“He is the person who has carried out slaughters in Kurdistan for years, and his visit to Greece, the birthplace of democracy, is unacceptable,” the Cultural Centre said in a statement.