Tsipras: Debate on appointing Muslim religious leaders ‘open’

Tsipras: Debate on appointing Muslim religious leaders ‘open’

A discussion about the way in which Muslim religious leaders are appointed in northern Greece is “open” and is not a matter of Greek-Turkish relations but instead concerns Greek Muslim citizens, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Friday. 

The debate on the issue started a long time ago within the leftist-led government and must now continue publicly, he said. 

The discussion must involve Muslim citizens and be completed swiftly so the relevant legislation can be passed, he added. 

His comments came after Education and Religious Affairs Minister Costas Gavroglou earlier in the day said the government may be willing to explore a request made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during his recent visit to Athens for the Muslim minority in northwestern Greece to appoint their religious leaders, rather than the state. 

Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias struck a different tone. “We do not discuss such matters,” he said.

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