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Greece sacks honorary consul in Barcelona at demand of Spanish government

Diplomat Fernando Turró is removed from post over accusations of "affronts to the Spanish flag"

 

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18 October 2018 11:28 AM

by

ACN | Barcelona

Greece has sacked its honorary consul in Barcelona at the demand of the Spanish government over "affronts to the Spanish flag," foreign minister Josep Borrell told Congress on Wednesday.

During his appearance, Borrell said that Greece's ambassador to Spain, Christodoulos Lazaris, had removed businessman, Fernando Turró, from the post of honorary consul in the Catalan capital.

Spanish government sources say Turró took part in a pro-independence demonstration on Catalonia's National Day, on September 11, and previously appeared alongside former Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, in a public event in 2017.

Borrell made the announcement in response to a question from the pro-independence Esquerra party, and he went on to ask senators whether they thought such an attitude was "normal."

"A consul cannot do this"

"A citizen can do what he or she likes," said Borrell, because in Spain "freedom of expression is so broad it allows for burning the national flag or an image of the king," before he added: "A consul cannot do this."

Borrell said that in such a situation he would always ask for the diplomat in question to be removed, and that "sometimes it is unnecessary, because the ambassador learns of it and takes action."

Spain-Flanders clash

This comes after Spain and Flanders clashed this week over comments made by the Flemish parliament speaker describing jailed Catalan leaders as "political prisoners."

On Tuesday, Borrell withdrew diplomatic status from the Flemish delegate in Spain, with the northern community of Belgium's top authorities hitting back the day after.

Fifth consul fired

Turró is the fifth honorary consul in Barcelona to be sacked by the country they represent at Spain's request. The first one was Xavier Vinyals (Latvia), who was followed by former footballer Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria), then Jordi Puig (Philippines) and Albert Ginjaume (Finland).

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  • The Spanish foreign minister, Josep Borrell, in Madrid in September 2018 (by Roger Pi de Cabanyes)

  • The Spanish foreign minister, Josep Borrell, in Madrid in September 2018 (by Roger Pi de Cabanyes)

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