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Turkish Foreign Minister Arrives in Greece, Calls Muslim Minority ”Turkish”

Cavusoglu
Credit: Mevlut Cavusoglu / Twitter

Mevlut Cavusoglu, the Turkish Foreign Minister, arrived on Sunday morning in Greece, ahead of a two-day visit that aims to boost the turbulent relations between Ankara and Athens.

Cavusoglu landed in Alexandroupolis, a northeastern Greek city in the region of Western Thrace.

Western Thrace is home to the Muslim minority of Greece.

Cavusoglu begins his visit with provocations

A few minutes after his landing, the Turkish official uploaded a tween on his personal Twitter account, where he openly provoked Greece by calling the Muslim minority of the country ”Turkish.”

”In #Greece to meet members of Turkish Minority in #WesternThrace and discuss our bilateral relations,” the tweed reads.

Cavusoglu is blatantly misleading when he calls the minority Turkish, as the Treaty of Lausanne recognizes it as a religious and not an ethnic minority.

Additionally, the minority is comprised of multiethnic communities, including people who do not identify themselves as Turks.

The Turkish minister also declared that he met with the members of the Western Thrace Turkish Minority Advisory Board, claiming that his country ”will always stand resolutely with the Turkish Minority in their struggle for their rights and underlined once again our strong support.”

Earlier, Cavusoglu had visited a minority school in Komotini, where he kept referring to the muslim minority as ”Turkish.”

”Turkish Minority’s children of all ages having an education in better conditions and in their mother tongue is important,” Cavusoglu tweeted.

”Will continue to support our kinsmen to solve these problems,” he said.

The Turkish high-ranking official will move to Athens on Sunday afternoon to meet with his Greek counterpart, Nikos Dendias.

Cavusoglu had said earlier this week that his talks with the Greek Foreign Minister also aim to prepare for a possible meeting between Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Responding to Cavusoglu’s baseless claims, the Greek foreign ministry issued a statement on Sunday afternoon.

”Turkey’s constant attempts to distort the reality, as well as the allegations of non-respect of the rights of these citizens [the Muslim minority], or of alleged discrimination, are unfounded and are rejected in their entirety,” the Greek repsonse noted.

Minority group calls Turkish official Persona Non Grata

Earlier this week, the Cultural Association of the Pomaks in Greece’s northern city of Xanthi issued a damning statement against the Turkish minister of Foreign Affairs.

The Association said that Cavusoglu is not welcome in their region and declared him a ”persona non grata.”

The reason for this hostile reaction on behalf of the Pomaks is the fact that Cavusoglu and the Turkish government insist on calling the Greek Muslim minority of Western Thrace ”Turkish.”

”When we died for these lands, we did not know [speak] Turkish,” their statement says.

”Over the recent decades, the Pomaks and Roma of Thrace have been subjected to a cultural and linguistic genocide by Turkish settlers,” the damning statement continues, only to add that ”the minority is one and it is defined by the Treaty of Lausanne; it is Muslim and it consists of communities that have only one thing in common: Their religion!”

The Pomaks are a Muslim group inhabiting Bulgaria, northeastern Greece, and northwestern Turkey. In Greece, their number is approximately 50,000 people, who live primarily in villages across Western Thrace known as ”Pomakohoria,” meaning the villages of the Pomaks.

The Pomaks speak the Pomak language, which the Greek authorities now try to preserve with minority schools in Western Thrace teaching it.

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