A local newspaper in Turkey’s Thracian province of Edirne has reported that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ family was originally from the nearby town of Kırklareli.
In its Jan. 29 report, daily Hudut quoted the provincial head of the Freedom and Solidarity Party (ÖDP) in Edirne who claimed that Tsipras had visited the city in 2010 for a joint event between his SYRIZA coalition and the ÖDP.
According to Nevzat Çolak, the new Greek prime minister said during their meetings in Edirne that “he feels at home” when he visits the Thrace region in Turkey, as his family was originally from Babaeski, a village in the nearby Kırklareli province.
“He is a smiling person. He was very happy at the interest we showed, and we ate meals of liver together,” Çolak added.
It is not immediately clear when the Tsipras family migrated from Turkey to Greece. The population exchange between Turkey and Greece, agreed in the Swiss lakeside town of Lausanne in January 1923, came after the two states sought to fix their borders after the Turkish War of Independence. Around 1.5 million Greeks from Anatolia and around 500,000 Muslims from Greece were “exchanged” in accordance with the treaty.
Tsipras’ relatives in the Athamania village, near the western Greek city of Arta, told Hürriyet that his father, Pavlos, is from Arta, as well as his parents. His mother Aristi, however, is from Kavala, a northern Greek city near the border with Turkey.
“I don’t know if her family were migrants from Turkey,” Dmitris Tsipras said.