30:01:2008 - 09:01 EET
Jan 27 2008
PM’s visit to the Great School of the Nation
Γράφει ο/η Θεόφιλος Δουμάνης   
During his visit yesterday to the Great School of the Nation in Constantinople, Greek Prime Minister, Kostas Karamanlis stressed that for Turkey's European course the presence of ecumenical symbols on its soil could serve as a strong advantage. These symbols could also lead to the improvement of Greek-Turkish relations for which we continue to work on a bilateral level. The presence of the Greek minority, its progress and prosperity can constitute a bridge of friendship and cooperation between the two countries and in our efforts to promote peace and friendship.

The prime minister referred to the great tradition of Zographeion and Zappeion and addressing the students of the Great School of the Nation and Schools of Constantinople he stressed that they are the hope of the future. 

Ending his speech, Mr Karamanlis reported that he is honored to be the first Greek and first European prime minister in this century to deliver a speech from the podium of his School and talk with the youth, who will be the main citizens of Istanbul in the future.

From his end, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew asked from the prime minister not to forget the Greeks' spiritual capital and their roots. "The Ecumenical Patriarchate and the expatriate Hellenes wish to live and they must live. They can withstand it. It is their historical debt."

The Patriarch stressed the "historic importance" of the Greek prime minister's visit to Turkey, stressing that it coincides with the expatriate Hellenes' rebirth, with the new administrative bodies of foundations, with fresh hopes and optimistic prospects.

Finally, he praised Messrs Karamanlis and Erdogan for their contribution in creating a fresh era in Greek-Turkish relations.
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