Offense at CIA note on Turks

Athens yesterday calmly but firmly repudiated the CIA’s assertion, in its World Fact Book, that Turks constitute an «ethnic group» in Greece. «The reference… does not correspond to reality,» said Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos. «Neither bureaucracy, nor secret services, can change or dilute international treaties and they certainly cannot change the reality in our country,» he said. In the World Fact Book’s updated report, the CIA describes Greece’s population as comprised of «98 percent Greeks and 2 percent Turks and others.» Ministry officials told Kathimerini that, although Athens was bothered by the reference, it did not rate it as excessively significant. However, some diplomatic sources suggested that the reference was not unintentional and that it might be an attempt by Washington to exert pressure on Greece, echoing stances that have been expressed by Ankara regarding Greece’s Muslim minority in Thrace. Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, who was yesterday in Oslo for a NATO summit, did not comment on the development.

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