Mayor of Thessaloniki Yiannis Boutaris has proposed the change of the name of the international airport “Macedonia” in the city of Northern Greece. It should be named “Nikos Galis,” he said claiming that tourists arriving in the city believe they arrive in Skopje and FYROM.
Speaking at a meeting of the City Council on Monday, Boutaris said among others “Will we keep the name ‘Macedonia’ for the airport and the Bus station [ktel]? Tourists arriving here think they have arrived in Skopje,” Boutaris claimed.
In an interview with private Skai TV on Tuesday morning, Boutaris said he was expressing his own views and proposed to rename the airport into “Nikos Galis”, after the famous Greek basketball player.
“I did not propose a name change, I said we should look into what we should do,” he said adding it should be avoided to “permanent scratch old wounds.”
He estimated that “the problem is not with Skopje, it is with Turkey” and claimed that FYROM does not include “irredentistical ambitions in its Constitution, the same is mentioned in our Constitution.”
Immediate response came from New Democracy with lawmaker and former Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos tweeting “The mayor should better let diplomacy and negotiations to diplomats and deal with his own responsibilities like collecting garbage in his city.”