Turkish FM accuses Greece of failing to protect rights of minority in Thrace


Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has criticized Greece of failing to uphold the rights of its Muslim minority in Western Thrace and of forbidding its members to call themselves “Turks.”

He was speaking after the 54th meeting of the European Union-Turkey Association Council on Friday, during which Brussels reiterated its concerns over the candidate country’s continuing backsliding in the areas of fundamental rights and the rule of law, as well as the deterioration of the independence and functioning of the judiciary.

“Greece does not recognize the religious rights of the minority and the muftis [Muslim religious leaders] cannot exercise their rights,” said Cavusoglu, who is also Turkey’s chief negotiator, in response to a journalist’s question.

He added that Turks who live in Greece cannot call themselves “Turks” despite previous rulings by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on the matter.