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Kemal Ataturk's childhood home and museum inaugurated in Thessaloniki
Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Omer Celik and Deputy Foreign Minister Akis Gerontopoulos inaugurated the reconstructed childhood home of Turkey's historical figure of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (1881-1938) on the grounds of the Turkish Consulate in Thessaloniki, on Friday morning.
The event was also attended by the Turkish consul in Thessaloniki, city representatives and officials from both countries.
Celik, who invited Gerontopoulos to join him in cutting the ribbon, said relations between Greece and Turkey have been improving constantly since 1999, and noted, "We see both countries as friends. We also see minorities in both countries acting as bridges of friendship between the two."
The Turkish official also expressed the hope that tourism inflow between the two would grow, with improvements in infrastructure, and expressed the conviction that the renewed museum would keep attracting more visitors. "Thessaloniki is a very important city, and important cities leave their marks on great leaders and on great personalities," he added.
"For this building, groups of technicians from both countries worked together... and we will be happy to see them work together in the future again, on other plans," he said, thanking the Greek state for its help in permits.
"We Greeks respect the friendship and cooperation of Balkan peoples," Gerontopoulos said, "and today's inauguration proves that."
The house serves as a museum that includes photographs, historical documents and period reconstructions of rooms, as well as a statue of Ataturk by Turkish sculptor Murat Daskin.
The ground floor includes a library, portraits of Ataturk and a projector for documentaries on his life. The first floor includes descriptions of his life as a child in Thessaloniki, including the local schools he attended, while the last floor relates to his military and political life until his death in November 1938.