Greek American congressman Gus Bilirakis declares: ‘It will always be Constantinople to me’
Greek American congressman Gus Bilirakis has taken a stance, declaring that the city today widely referred to as Istanbul “will always be Constantinople” to him.
“There are only approximately 1,200 Greek Orthodox Christians left in Constantinople,” he said. “It will always be Constantinople to me.”
Speaking at a Congressional religious freedom event in Washington on Monday at the Capitol Building, Bilirakis’ words were met with applause.
The city of Constantinople, named after Emperor Constantine, was the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. Following the population exchange of the 1920s, which saw Greek Orthodox Christians forced to relocate from their homes in Constantinople to Greece and Muslim Turks to Turkey, and the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the new Republic of Turkey officially changed Constantinople’s name to Istanbul.
The event was hosted by In Defence of Christians, America’s leading advocacy voice for Middle Eastern Christians, with the support of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
Mr Bilirakis is the congressman for Florida’s 12th Congressional District, and is currently serving his fourth term in the United States House of Representatives.