4 Western Thrace Turks elected to Greek parliament

4 Western Thrace Turks elected to Greek parliament

Necdet Burak Özyurt- ANKARA
4 Western Thrace Turks elected to Greek parliament

The Turkish minority in Greece, mostly residing in Western Thrace, has managed to field four lawmakers in the Greek parliament in the May 21 parliamentary elections.

The minority, which has a population of approximately 150,000 in the region, ran in the elections with 21 candidates from different political parties, while the number of elected deputies increased from three to four compared to the previous term.

Özgür Ferhat was elected from the Rhodope lists of Alexis Tsipras’ left-wing Syriza Party, and Hüseyin Zeybek managed to get enough votes in Xanthi (İskeçe) from the same party.

İlhan Ahmet from the third-placed center-left Pasok Party also became the representative of Rhodope, while Burhan Baran was elected in the Xanthi lists of the Pasok Party.

Three lawmakers retained their seats in parliament, while Ferhat was elected to parliament for the first time after receiving over 12,000 votes.

Baran underlined that the election results were a big surprise for the whole country, adding that his party increased its vote and continued its upward trend despite the unexpected outcome.

Noting that the rise in the number of Western Thrace deputies from three to four is also very pleasing, Baran stated he expects a vote transition from the Syriza to Pasok in the early election to be held on June 25.

Zeybek, meanwhile, said that contrary to Greek pollsters’ predictions, they encountered an unsuccessful picture.

Emphasizing that the message given by the public should be interpreted correctly, Zeybek added that the current state of the parliament’s seat will mostly remain unchanged.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ center-right New Democracy Party on May 21 won over 40 percent, hammering his main opponent, Syriza Party, by 20 points.

Greece will face new national elections as early as June 25, with Mitsotakis confirming on May 22 that he would not try to build a coalition government — despite having dominated the ballot hours earlier by the most decisive margin in half a century.