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Greece rebuts Turkey’s claims over Muslim religious leaders

Greece rebuts Turkey’s claims over Muslim religious leaders

Greece’s Foreign Ministry has released a statement countering Turkish claims that it imposes appointed religious leaders, or muftis, on the Muslim minority in the northeastern province of Thrace instead of letting them elect their own.

“The Turkish side is attempting, once again, to distort reality and spread fake news regarding the Muslim Minority in Thrace,” the statement, released Friday night says.

The rest of the full statement follows:

“It makes one wonder which provision of the Lausanne Treaty, which Turkey systematically violates, mentions that the muftis of the Muslim minority in Thrace are elected. We expect the Turkish side to point out the specific article.

It is at the very least an oxymoron that Turkey is attempting to establish procedures for the election of religious leaders in a third state, which it does not apply to its own territory. As is well-known, the Hellenic Parliament recently adopted a law for the modernization of the Muftiates.

This law establishes a modern and comprehensive institutional framework for the Muftiates and Muftis in Thrace; A framework that is fully compatible with the Constitution of Greece and the country’s international obligations, as defined by the Lausanne Treaty, the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Court of Human Rights case-law, as well as the principles and practices of Islam.

Greece, as a European democracy and a state governed by the Rule of Law, fully respects its obligations under the Lausanne Treaty towards the Muslim Minority in Thrace.

It will continue to pursue a coherent minority policy that promotes the Minority’s welfare. Turkey, on the other hand, continues to violate the rights of the nearly wiped-out Greek Minority in Istanbul, Gökçeada (Imbros), and Bozcaada (Tenedos).

It is noted that Turkey issued a relevant press release a few days after the sad anniversary of the 1955 ‘Events of September,’ which, if anything, could be a cause for reflection on the part of Turkey.”