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“Greece is the last Soviet-type society and economy,” Thessaloniki mayor Yiannis Boutaris said, explaining that in Greece many citizens expect everything from the state, avoiding individual responsibility.
Boutaris said that Thessaloniki has opened its door to the Turks, because it is the birthplace of founder of Turkish democracy, Kemal Ataturk and the house he was born is now a museum which is visited by thousands of Turks every year. “I don’t care if they say that the Turks slaughtered the Greeks and all that,” the mayor said regarding reactions against his stance on the museum.
“We are also looking to welcome the Jews and the Russians,” the mayor said, stressing the importance of tourism in the city economy.
The Thessaloniki mayor said that Greece needs major changes, arguing that “all we change is the prime minister.” “The municipal system, the tax system, the education system, they need to change,” he said. He also noted that the Greek Church should be separated in action by the state, “in theory it is separated, but in reality it is not.”
Boutaris further said that it will take at least ten years before the Greek economy recovers, stressing the need for investments. However, he said, the system for enterprises in Greece is so hostile,” he said.
When asked what the three priorities are for Greece in order to progress, Boutaris said that the three things Greece needs the most are separation between Church and State, change of the education system and change the mentality of hostility against profit.
Watch exclusive interview below