ISSUE OF THRACE - Foreign Ministry Slams Turkish Intervention In Greek Internal Affairs
“The Turkish Foreign Ministry announcement on an initiative that regulates issues concerning the status of Muslim preachers in Thrace in a manner that is positive for the Muslim minority itself – in light of information that has come out regarding the efforts of the Turkish Consulate in Komotini to impact the parliamentary process in Greece – is not consistent with the stated will of both countries to work to improve bilateral relations.
This announcement is another of the Turkish side’s familiar attempts to distort the reality of the Greek state’s treatment of the Muslim minority. It is a failed attempt, given that Greece – and Thrace, specifically – is a model of harmonious coexistence of citizens of different faiths, with one of the highest levels of protection of and respect for religious rights.
Greece is carefully monitoring the steps Turkey is taking to approach European standards in the sector of human and minority rights, which for Greece, as for the rest of the EU member states, are a given. And this is an important parameter for Turkey’s accession course, which, as is well known, Greece supports.
Information regarding the legislative regulation:
- The new provisions remedy weaknesses that the minority itself identified in the previous draft law.
- For the first time, provision is made for the teaching of the Quran in public schools in Thrace in which Muslim minority students are enrolled.
- This initiative is part of the serious efforts Greece is making towards the religious and intellectual nurturing of our Muslim minority fellow citizens.
- The potential for Muslim clergy, should they so wish, to attain public functionary status constitutes an upgrading.
- Greece proves daily and by its actions its full respect for the religious freedom of the Muslim minority, in total compliance with all international obligations and standards.
Please read the following story to familiarize yourself with the present situation in Thrace, and why Ankara is angry.