Karahasan’s candidacy is a positive thing

You are among those who were astounded by Papandreou’s decision to nominate Gulbeyaz Karahasan. Do you see any symbolism in the choice? It was Papandreou’s right to choose Karahasan. The choice of a woman candidate – and from the minority – as candidate for such an important position is undoubtedly positive. Of course, the political criteria may be the wrong ones, but that is the business of another party and has nothing to do with us. However, I believe that for reasons of political expediency, there has been far too much publicity surrounding the issue. There have been dissident members from among the minority for the past decade, but no attention has been paid to them. So what is your comment on the reactions? Irrespective of whether they are negative or positive, I think they are exaggerated and I would like to point out that protection of minorities, such as awareness of multiculturalism, is not the property of any one party but is self-evident in a democracy. I wish this young woman every success. Would you be in agreement if your own party made such as choice for example, for the Evros-Rhodope prefecture? Of course I would, but I would like to remind you that since the return to democratic rule (in 1974) the ND party is the only one that has instituted two important policies. The first is the declaration of equality before the law and equal electoral rights in 1991 by the then-prime minister Mr Constantine Mitsotakis. The second change was made by the current prime minister, Costas Karamanlis, for a New Modern European Minority Policy, which was enacted in March 2004. The nomination of candidates for prefects are purely political choices and therefore should be backed up by political criteria, such as suitability for the post, ability and most importantly, evidence that the candidacy is acceptable to all the inhabitants of a region as being in their interest. It should not be made for public relations purposes. However, it nevertheless is of political significance for our political system. How do the Christians and Muslims of Thrace co-exist? Peacefully. They still live alongside each other and my greatest personal vision is that we may one day live together. To struggle together for prosperity and growth in our region, beyond any dogmatism or prejudice. To make Thrace an example of an open democratic society with complete harmony and respect for the European principles that we value.