NEWS

Greece rejects Turkish claims over Muftis in Thrace

TAGS: Diplomacy, Turkey, Religion

Greece on Saturday rejected Turkish accusations that Muslim religious leaders will be under the control of a newly established government body, saying there are no such plans and called for an end to interventions in the country's domestic affairs.

The Greek Foreign Ministry said Greece issued a presidential decree that improves the work of Muftis who maintain judicial powers and provides guarantees for the parties resorting to the Muftis.

“Obviously, any reference [by Turkey] to an establishment of a new state entity is false,” the ministry said, adding that “Greece does not take lessons on the implementation of the Lausanne Treaty, international law or ECHR judgments from Turkey.”

“Turkey must end its interventionism, stop reproducing unacceptable statements and understand, on the one hand, that the above changes are strictly a Greek domestic affair and, on the other, the unrelenting reality of history and numbers which demonstrate that the Muslim minority living in Thrace enjoys its freedoms and rights."

The Turkish Foreign Ministry claimed earlier that the decree in question states that Muftis 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.”

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