Celik refers to ‘Turkish minority’ in Thrace

Celik refers to ‘Turkish minority’ in Thrace

The positive climate at the talks this week in Athens between senior Greek officials and Turkey’s EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik was somewhat marred on Friday after he referred to Thrace’s Muslim population as "Turkish  minority" in remarks published in the Hurriyet website, according to Greek media reports.

Commenting on the exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara accuses of being the mastermind behind the failed coup plot last July in the neighboring country, Celik said that “Gulenists are attempting to divide the Turkish minority in Western Thrace.”

According to the Turkish website, the minister also said that Ankara will not engage in negotiations to remove its guarantor status, which is a Greek demand, in the event of a peace deal on Cyprus.

Celik met on Wednesday with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras for talks that focused on the refugee crisis while he, reportedly, thanked the Greek government for its support after the failed coup attempt.

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