Boutaris plans Islamic art museum for Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki Mayor Yannis Boutaris on Thursday announced plans to establish a museum of Islamic art in Greece’s northern port city.

Boutaris, who was re-elected in May, told Kathimerini he had already contacted the Benaki Museum in Athens to ask for help to turn either the Alaca Imaret or the Yeni Cami, both former mosques, into a museum.

Boutaris, who has carried out several initiatives in a bid to attract visitors from neighboring Turkey, also said he would back plans to establish a department of Islamic studies at Aristotle University, as well as a Muslim cemetary near the city.

“The Turks are our brothers, while Europeans are our partners,” said Boutaris, who once again stressed the need to create a site of worship for the city’s Muslims.