“Ankara will not treat Turkey’s citizens of Greek-origin in correlation to Athens’ treatment of Turks in Greece,” Turkish Minister for European Affairs Egemen Bagis has said while noting the lack of a mosque in the Greek capital.
While Muslims living in Greece still do not have a cemetery or a mosque in Athens, “It is important that the administrations of both countries take goodwill steps simultaneously,” Bagis said in response to the Patriarch Bartholomew’s recent lament that the Greek Theological School in Chalki on Heybeliada Island remains closed despite promises to reopen the facility.
“The (Turkish) government did not have an anti-constitutional special promise made to any international organization or country or to any community for that matter,” Bagıs said. “However, on the other hand, it is our government’s priority that we find a solution to our own citizens’ issues, naturally within the framework of international and national legal boundaries.”
“It is very significant that Greece approaches the problems of the Turkish minority in Western Thrace at the same time with the same sensitivity. Therefore, while keeping all dialogue doors wide open, we will do whatever we can for everybody to enjoy their rights without any problems,” added Bagis, expressing his complaint that Turks in Greece are and continue to be discriminated against.
The Turkish minister continued by saying, “We [Turks] pay the price for Cyprus as well as, since by their own accounts, wrongdoings against the Muslims of Western Thrace in Greece [have been exacerbating].” In response to the issue for the need of a Muslim house of worship in Athens brought up my the Turkish PM Erdogan, Patriarch Bartholomew stated, “I have no objection to this, but it’s not under my jurisdiction.”
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