Turkey reacts to appointment of Muslim religious leaders in northern Greece by state

TAGS: Turkey, Religion, Diplomacy

The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Saturday issued a statement expressing objections to a recent Greek presidential decree stating that the religious leaders of the Muslim minority in northern Greece will be appointed by the state instead of being elected.

The decree, the ministry said in a lengthy statement on its website on Saturday, is an “aggravation” of Greek “violations” of Muslim minority rights in the country's north and “disregards the rights of the Turkish minority in Greece guaranteed by the Lausanne Peace Treaty also on the basis of reciprocity.”

The decree, the statement said, “is clearly aiming at destroying the institutional autonomy of the Muftis by transforming them into an ordinary government department.”

Turkey's Foreign Ministry accuses the Greek government of failing to consult with representatives of the minority and adds that it “expects” Athens to “turn away from its mistake of imposing illegally appointed Muftis.”

“We invite international and regional organizations as well as the EU institutions to monitor the situation of human rights in Greece to carry out impartial investigations about Greece's legal actions that contradict the European values and universal human rights,” the statement added.