A Greek political party has called for the birth home of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in Thessaloniki to become a museum commemorating the Greek Genocide in the Pontus region on the Black Sea, Greek City Times reports.
The Greek Solution (Ελληνική Λύση) suggested to convert Ataturk’s house into a genocide memorial museum.
“No Turkish court can desecrate the over-chronic character of the Hagia Sophia,” the party said in a statement just one day before Turkey decided to turn it into a mosque.
“On the contrary, Greece can and must turn Kemal’s house into a museum of memory and honor of the victims of the [Greek] Pontian genocide,” Greek Solution said.
Although Turks think of Ataturk fondly as the founder of the modern Turkish Republic, Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians remember him as one of the main perpetrators of genocide against Christian minorities in the Ottoman Empire, that led to the systematic extermination of around 3.5 million people.
With about a million Greeks exterminated on policies made by Ataturk and his predecessors, more than 1.2 million Greeks were forcibly removed from Turkey in 1923-1924 as a result of the the Treaty of Lausanne, decimating thousands of years of Greek life in Asia Minor, Pontus and Eastern Thrace.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan signed a decree on Friday opening Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia as a mosque after a Turkish court annulled a 1934 government decree that had turned it into a museum
On Friday, Erdogan also announced that Hagia Sophia mosque will be open for prayer on July 24.