Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris said his statements at a meeting of the city council on Monday, about renaming the city’s Macedonia Airport Nikos Galis, after the Greek basketball legend, were misinterpreted.
Speaking to Skai TV on Tuesday, Boutaris denied he ever said the name should be changed.
“I simply posed the question,” adding, “We should think about why this name, Macedonia, has divided so many people. He also said that he mentioned the former Aris player Nikos Galis “because he is an international personality, because Thessaloniki is a basketball hub and he is the only Greek to make it to the [basketball] Hall of Fame.”
But, he clarified, he is “not proposing a name change and never did.”
He insisted, however, that he will not take back his view that Greece has lost in the name dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as “more than 140 countries have already recognized the neighboring country as ‘Macedonia’” in the last 25 years.