Turkey, citing this time the new law for the modernization of the Muftiates recently adopted by the Hellenic Parliament, is once again distorting reality.
In order to serve its narrative, it deliberately distorts the truth regarding the Muslim minority in Thrace.
The new law, which was drafted following extensive consultation with representatives of the Minority, establishes a modern and comprehensive institutional framework for the Muftiates and Muftis in Thrace 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.
The fundamental elements of the new law are transparency at all stages of the selection process; the guarantee of broad representation through an Advisory Committee composed exclusively of our fellow Muslim citizens from Thrace; the nomination by the Advisory Committee of the most suitable persons for staffing the Muftiates without state intervention; and the provision for greater possible participation of women in the selection process, an innovative and novel element in terms of the internationally applicable standards for the nomination of women in the selection process.
Greece, in full compliance with its obligations under the Lausanne Treaty towards the Muslim Minority in Thrace, will continue to pursue a coherent minority policy that promotes the Minority’s welfare.
Our Muslim fellow citizens in Thrace live in a European country.
They enjoy everything that a democratic and governed-by-law state provides to all its citizens, without exception.
Before making suggestions to anyone, Turkey should consider how many of the articles of the Lausanne Treaty it has itself abided by.
It should also consider for what reasons and through what systematic policies of Ankara the once thriving Greek Minority in Istanbul, Gökçeada (Imbros) and Bozcaada (Tenedos) has been nearly wiped out.
Turkey will remain accountable to both its own citizens who have been forced to leave their ancestral homes and the International Community until it provides honest and convincing answers to these persistent questions.
Such an exercise of honest self-criticism would be beneficial first and foremost for Turkey, but also for the future of our two countries’ relations.
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic