Election of muftis in northern Greece appears on gov’t agenda

Election of muftis in northern Greece appears on gov’t agenda

Education and Religious Affairs Minister Costas Gavroglou on Friday suggested that the government may be willing to explore a demand by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during his recent visit to Athens regarding the appointment of religious leaders for the Muslim minority in northwestern Greece.

Speaking to Parliament's Vouli TV channel, Gavroglou said that “a very serious discussion needs to start, with the community itself, on the issue of rationalizing the election of muftis. The serious issue that needs to be discussed… is the makeup of the electoral body.”

Gavroglou is due to give an extensive interview to the broadcaster on Friday night at 9 p.m., where he is expected to assess the Turkish leader's visit.

Speaking to the press after Gavroglou's comments, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias struck a different tone, however.

“We do not discuss such matters,” he said.

In Athens last week, Erdogan had called for a revision of the Lausanne Treaty, the foundation of the Greek-Turkish relationship.

In a press conference after meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, moreover, he also stressed the need for more freedoms top be granted to the Muslim minority in the border region of Western Thrace, particularly the right to elect their own religious leader, rather than him being appointed by the Greek state.