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GreekReporter.comGreeceTurkey Gripes About Turks Rights in Greece

Turkey Gripes About Turks Rights in Greece

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Tension is escalating again between Greece and Turkey with Turkish officials now complaining that the Turkish minority living in Greece have few rights and that Greeks living in Turkey have more.
That assessment came from the spokesperson of the Turkish Foreign Ministry Levent Gümrükçü said in a written statement, who said that Turkey is an equal opportunity country protecting all its citizens. He made no note of a new law that allows the government to arrest people who “may hold a protest,” although there was no explanation of how that would be determined.
He said Turkey, which wants to join the European Union but which won’t allow the re-opening of the Halki Seminary unless Ottoman mosques are built in Athens, is undergoing a comprehensive reform process and doesn’t recognize any differences between its citizen whom he said are all afforded the same rights.
The Turkish foreign ministry (MFA) said, “The Turkish minority in Greece is not able to elect their own religious leadership, they do not have the right to declare their ethnic identities, they cannot advance their own schools, the right to control their foundations was taken from their hands, and they face pressure in their media outlets. The Turkish minority cannot have education in Turkish.”
It added: “If a country, which does not even obey the decision of the European Court of Human Rights, acts in the direction taken by Turkey in the field of minority rights, rather than giving advice, then it will help make minorities a bridge of friendship between two countries,” said the statement.
In a statement on Oct. 3, the Greek Foreign Ministry spokesperson Konstantinos Koutras said,”…the protection of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the re-opening of the Halki Seminary are not matters of bilateral Greek-Turkish negotiation, but matters of respect for the rights and religious freedoms of Turkish citizens themselves…”
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reiterated another condition for opening Halki: letting Turks in Greece – not the Greek government – appoint muftis in Western Thrace.
“They are asking why you don’t open the Halki Seminary. For us, opening the Halki Seminary is not a big deal. But I have 150,000 people of my kin in Western Thrace. Why you are the one who appoints their muftis? Why don’t you let them choose (their mufti)?” Erdoğan said during an address in Adana’s Kozan district, Hurriyet reported.
He said his government had returned the confiscated properties of Greeks, Armenians and Jews. “Why? Because we wanted to correct a mistake. Protecting the rights of Muslims and citizens of other faiths is the duty of the state,” he said.

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