Diplomatic thriller ahead of Turkish President Erdogan’s visit to Greece

First Turkish president to visit Thrace since 1923

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to arrive in Greece on an official visit on December 7-8, but the delay in the dispatch of a formal invitation accompanied by the lack of any official announcements by either side has shed some doubts, mainly due to possible obstacles during deliberations between the two countries’ diplomatic bodies regarding the details of the Turkish President’s programme while in Greece.

According to reliable sources, the Turkish side demanded Mr. Erdogan visit the region of Thrace, with the Greek side agreeing only under strict conditions that every detail of his stay in Thrace would be agreed upon beforehand, including what he would say and where.

Mr. Erdogan is the second Turkish president to visit Thrace since 1923 and the establishment of the modern Turkish state. The same sources say that Mr. Erdogan has requested to pray at a Mosque in the prefecture of Rodopi and address the Muslim population in an open gathering, but Athens has objected to an open gathering after the provocative statements made by Turkish Vice-President Hasan Cavusoglu during his recent visit to the region.

Meanwhile, extreme Turkish-speaking nationalistic elements in Komotini are preparing an impressive welcome reception to Mr. Erdogan suitable to the “leader of the motherland”. The Turkish president will be accompanied by many TV stations during his visit that will broadcast his speech and schedule live.