Just a few days after his provocative statements questioning the territorial borders set by the Treaty of Lausanne, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made new claims, calling for a referendum in "Western Thrace," according to the Athens-Macedonia News Agency.
"Turkey is not just Turkey," Erdogan was quoted as saying. "Apart from its 79 million citizens, it is also responsible to the hundreds of millions of our brothers in the geographical area to which we are connected by historical and cultural ties."
Erdogan said that in 1920 Turkey's then National Assembly decided on a "national contract" that set out the borders of Turkey, noting that based on that decision, referendums should be held to settle regions of the former Ottoman regime where there was Arab majority in 1918 when an armistice was signed marking the defeat of the Ottoman Empire.
According to Erdogan, that same decision noted that the legal status of regions including "Western Thrace" should be determined by a free referendum in the area.
Erdogan added that "certain historians believe that the borders set by the national contract include Cyprus, Aleppo, Mosul, Erbil, Kirkuk, Batumi, Thessaloniki, Kardzhali, Varna and the islands of the Aegean."
Note to readers: The Athens-Macedonian News Agency has since withdrawn its report, saying that its correspondent had erroneously claimed that Erdogan called for a referendum to be held by Thrace’s Muslim minority. Click here for an update to this story.