Erdogan critical of state-appointed muftis

Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday criticized the appointment of senior religious authorities for the Muslim minority in Thrace by the Greek state, a day after meeting with his Greek counterpart, Antonis Samaras, in Qatar, when Erdogan had spoken of the construction of a mosque in Athens.

“The appointment of muftis has increased tension in the region,” Erdogan told members of his Justice and Development Party.

“We asked the Greek government to show greater sensitivity over minority issues. Such a mistake… is unacceptable,” he said.

Ankara has in the past backed its own muftis that are not recognized by the Greek state.

An amendment passed earlier this month allows the Greek state to appoint imams to state schools and mosques in Thrace.