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İBB President Ekrem İmamoğlu handed over the term presidency to the Mayor of Athens at the B40 Balkan Summit: “I propose to establish a B40 Green Development Bank”

B40 Balkan Cities Network Athens Summit was held in Technopolis, a campus similar to the “Museum Gazhane” put into service by IMM in Kadıköy. İmamoğlu spoke at the meeting that brought together the mayors of 48 Balkan cities, 23 of which were founding cities. Reacting to the burning of the Qur’an in front of the Turkish Embassy in Sweden’s capital, Stockholm, İmamoğlu said, “The geography we live in commands respect for people from different origins, different beliefs and life choices, and embracing all kinds of differences. We are passing through the days when the Qur’an was burned in other parts of the world. We must collectively and strongly condemn such provocative attempts. Because such populist and extremist approaches have nothing to do with freedom and democracy. On the contrary, such attempts are hate crimes that can sow the seeds of enmity among people and disrupt peace and tranquility.

İmamoğlu offered the mayors, who are members of the B40 Balkan Cities Network, to establish a “B40 Green Development Bank” in order to manage the green transformation process in the Balkan geography.

Stating that the interest and participation of the Balkan cities in the B40 Network made him happy, İmamoğlu said: “This strong participation shows how real and solid the B40 Balkan Cities Network is based on, and how important it is. This need is the desire to build a stronger and better future as Balkan cities. As the metropolitan mayor of Istanbul, Europe’s largest city, I envision a world where civilizations are collaborating instead of clashing, equality between nations instead of domination, and borders are increasingly transparent. My Istanbul vision is one that highlights regional and global connections, networks, relationships, meetings and sharing. For me, just as Istanbul, located at the very center of the world geographically, is the city of meetings, the Balkans is also the center of cooperation. It should be. For me, just as Istanbul is the city of merchants, travelers, producers, creators and immigrants, so is the Balkans.

The multinational, multi-identity and pluralist democracy model represented by the European Union is our common ideal. Human rights, the rule of law, a culture of compromise and freedom are our common goals. Only if we stand together, in solidarity, can we protect the democratic gains. As Athens and Istanbul are brothers, Taksim and Syntagma Square, the people who fill those squares, are also brothers. I believe that in this period when democracy is in a global crisis, all Balkan cities will be centers where democracy will sprout again. In line with these ideals and goals, I believe that the B40 Network will develop and sustain a climate of peace, democracy and tolerance among Balkan cities.”

Athens Mayor Bakoyannis pointed out that as cities of the Balkan countries, they face similar problems. Emphasizing the importance of the Balkan cities, which have different ethnic structures and religions, to act together against the attacks against them, Bakoyannis determined that a “Balkanization” movement is needed in this context. Stating that the European Union, which has been achieved by European countries that have determined their borders by fighting each other in the historical process, will set an example for this movement, Bakoyannis said, “No child in the world is born with grudge and hatred against an ethnic group or different beliefs. Our ‘Balkanization’ process will be our bridge of solidarity and communication. Our vision; There will be peace, prosperity and stability to the Balkans. Our aim; to highlight local communities. Every member who joins our network will solidify this foundation.”

The mayors of the following cities attended the B40 Balkan Summit:

Istanbul, Athens, Belgrade, Bijeljina, Burgas, Canakkale, Durres, Dimitrovgrad, Edirne, Plovdiv, Karnaboat, Kardzhali, Kirklareli, Laktashi, Lefkada, Lesbos, Patras, Podgorica, Pula, Sarajevo, Thessaloniki, Sofia, Split, Stara, Tekirdag, Tirana, Troyan, Skopje, Veliko, Zenica, Kotor, Niksic, Zagreb, Piraeus, Trikala, Nea Smyrni, Kumanova, Pilea-Hortiatis, Veria, Corinth, Karditsa, Central Corinth and Diapontian Islands, Ayios Dimitrios, Halkida, Zografu, Kalamata, Paleo Faliro, Pallini, Argos-Mikines and Avlona.

European Committee of the Regions President Vasco Alves Cordeiro, Eurocities President and Mayor of Florence Dario Nardella and Eurocities Secretary General Andre Sobczak also followed the summit as representatives of international organizations.

Participating in the meeting, Mayor of Kırklareli Mehmet Siyam Kapakoğlu put the logo of Kırklareli Municipality on the map. Keskinoglu shared the following on his Twitter account:

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