Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived by Thrace this morning for meetings with members of the Muslim minority in Komotini and prayers at a local mosque.
Erdogan was accompanied by his wife Emine and the large Turkish delegation that has traveled with him for the first state visit to Greece of a Turkish president in 65 years.
Erdogan traveled from Athens to Alexandroupolis on his presidential aircraft this morning, and he was to be welcomed on behalf of the Greek government by Alternate Foreign Minister Yorgos Katrougalos and deputy minister Yannis Amanatidis.
From the morning, crowds gathered in Komotini around the city’s Kir Mahale mosque, where the visiting Turkish president had arranged to attend the Friday religious services and to pray.
The visit to the mosque is being covered by a full court press, and under heightened security measures.
The two illegal muftis of Thrace, Ibrahim Serif and Ahmet Mete, were on hand to greet Erdogan, who complained yesterday in Athens about the fact that the legitimate muftis in Greece are appointed by the Greek government, as is the case for muftis in Turkey, while those elected by the local Muslim community are not recognized by the government.
Erdogan’s visit to Thrace comes on the heels of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ decision to abolish by law the mandatory implementation of Sharia law among the Muslim minority of Thrace.
Erdogan will then attend a luncheon in his honour at the local Chris and Eve Mansion hotel.
The Turkish president is scheduled to leave Thrace for his return to Turkey at 4 p.m. this afternoon