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Cities of Athens and Istanbul can build bridges of peace, mayors say

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The cities of Athens and Istanbul can build bridges of peace and work together to solve their problems, as well as those that go beyond the borders of the two countries, their respective mayors said on Tuesday, after a meeting in Athens.

The mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem Imamoglu, arrived in Athens on Tuesday for a two-day visit, as the official guest of Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis.

Speaking after receiving his Istanbul counterpart at Athens City Hall earlier, Bakoyannis stressed that “problems are solved from the bottom up. People create them and people solve them. Even if they are created by governments or – to be precise – regimes, they can be solved by the people.”

“Our differences are real, but local administration is the closest democratic institution to the citizen and this allows us to be able to interpret human emotions more effectively. Those feelings were manifested in our societies with the catastrophic fires that hit our countries in the summer, as well as with the strong earthquakes that took place a few years ago,” he added.

For his part, Imamoglu noted that Istanbul and Athens are two cities that are connected by a common destiny and must together find solutions to the problems faced by Greece and Turkey.

“Friendship between the two countries is not one of the solutions, it is the only solution,” he said.

Later, the two mayors toured the Parthenon and Athena Nike temples on the Acropolis.

On Wednesday, Imamoglu will visit the Ancient Agora at 11.30 a.m. and then Syntagma Square and Zappion, to inspect the urban regeneration projects underway in the area. At 4.30 p.m. he will visit exhibition “Portals” of the Organization for Culture and Development NEON at the former Public Tobacco Factory in Lenorman.

He will depart on Wednesday night for Istanbul.