The Greek diaspora responded immediately to the call of the Special Permanent Committee on Greeks Abroad of the Hellenic Parliament to help both for the condemnation of the increasing Turkish provocation and the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
All the representatives of the Greek Diaspora spoke yesterday at the second meeting of the committee via teleconference, and assured that they have already started promoting the rights of Greece and will intensify these efforts.
Their goal, as they underlined, is not only to hold large events in the parliaments and municipalities of the countries where there are elected members of Greek origin, but also to pass a resolution condemning Turkey for its continuing provocation towards Greece and against its decision to convert the world symbol of culture, Hagia Sophia, into a mosque.
The President of the World Hellenic Inter-parliamentary Association (WHIA), Peter Katsambanis, stressed that “in the difficult times that the country is going through, all diaspora Greeks stand firmly on its side.”
“Twelve members of the Greek diaspora have already written letters condemning Turkey, and this effort will continue by passing resolutions that condemn Turkey’s provocation in all houses,” he said. “On the occasion of the bicentennial anniversary of the Greek Revolution, and with the cooperation of all our MPs, we will try to organize large events in 49 different parliaments in 20 countries of all continents, and we will invite leaders, ministers, house speakers, MPs and elected representatives of each State,” assured Peter Katsambanis.
Ioanna Zacharaki, president of the European Network of Elected Greek in Local Authorities and municipal councilor of the German city of Solingen – as she said, represents 500 members – pointed out that a resolution against Turkey has already been sent by the Network to EU governments, UNESCO, municipalities and churches.
“We are disturbed by Turkey’s decision on Hagia Sophia. Because we Greeks promote the peaceful coexistence of peoples. This is the message of the Greek Revolution of 1821. This decision of the Turkish government has gone back many years. It provokes the international community and creates tensions between Christians and Muslims,” said Ioanna Zacharaki.
Steve Georganas, WHIA member and a member of the South Australian House of Assembly, assured that all 20 MPs of Greek origin who are elected in local parliaments, stand by Greece and condemn the Turkish provocation.
The Greek-born US Senator, Leonidas Raptakis, stressed that an effort would be made to pass a single Turkish condemnation resolution in Congress. “We have 18 elected representatives of Greek origin in the 50 States. We will send a single resolution to pass it in all legislatures. We want the USA to send the same message everywhere,” pointed out Leonidas Raptakis.
Zisos Loutsis, deputy mayor of the municipality of Finiq in Albania and member of the European Network, noted that “for the people of Northern Epirus, the 1821 Revolution continues.” “The conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque is a serious retrograde step. And to us in Northern Epirus, it resonates with other implications that have negatively marked our lives. In a joint statement, 60 members condemn this Turkish provocation,” stressed Zisos Loutsis.
On his part, the Deputy Foreign Minister, Konstantinos Vlasis, assured them that Greek State would support them and that there would be a hotline with them.
“The enthusiasm of Greeks around the world is very important. We will all work together and celebrate together. It will be very important that both the resolutions adopted by the parliaments and the events that will take place are made public. Together we create the image of Greece to the rest of the world,” underlined Konstantinos Vlasis.