Athens mayor defends Boutaris over Thessaloniki airport suggestion


Under-fire Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris has received support from his counterpart in Athens, Giorgos Kaminis, who descried his colleague as a “true patriot.”

Boutaris was widely criticised after suggesting this week that Thessaloniki should think about renaming its Makedonia Airport. He made the proposal in the context of the discussions between Greece and the Former

Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) aimed at resolving the name dispute that has divided the two countries since the early 1990s.

However, Boutaris’s suggestion, which included naming the airport after former basketball star Nikos Gallis, was slammed by New Democracy and other opposition parties. There was also a small protest in Thessaloniki on Wednesday against the mayor’s intervention.

Kaminis, though, came to the defence of his counterpart in northern Greece via social media on Thursday.

“Patriotism is to serve the interests of the people with realism,” the Athens mayor wrote in a tweet that made reference to the 27-year dispute between Greece and FYROM. “Yiannis Boutaris is a true patriot.”