Thessaloniki Mayor Boutaris raises issue of city’s airport scrapping name “Macedonia”

Mayor makes controversial suggestion a second time in two days

The Mayor of Thessaloniki, Yiannis Boutaris reiterated his view that the Thessaloniki International Airport of “Macedonia” should change its name, causing an uproar. Only a day after he expressed the opinion, during a council meeting in Thessaloniki that a change in the airport’s name and the city’s bus terminal could be an option worth exploring in the framework of negotiations with FYROM, Mr Boutaris repeated his controversial proposal during an interview with Skai TV on Tuesday morning.

After initially attempting to keep appearances up by claiming that he did not suggest a name change for the airport, the Mayor of Thessaloniki said he had expressed a concern over the whole name issue at the city council, arguing that tourists arriving by air in Thessaloniki were confused when the pilot informed them they were landing at the “Macedonia” airport.
“I did not say we had to change the name, I said we had to see what we were going to do, one of the things we can do is to change the name. Let them think about it and let them change it”, he said, adding that “this famous name “Macedonia has divided the world.”
At the same time, referring to the ongoing negotiation Mr Boutaris said that “Skopje is in a desperate position because they know they have to give way over the name”, but added that Greece has also lost the issue, as 160 countries in the world had already recognised FYROM as “Macedonia”. He noted that the real danger was Turkey and that through its stance Greece was pushing FYROM closer to Turkey.