Turkey slams Greece for violating Lausanne Peace Treaty
ANKARA- Anadolu Agency
Turkey on June 21 decried a decision by Greece that local religious leaders, known as muftis, among the Turkish minority living in the Western Thrace would henceforth be appointed by the state instead of being elected by the local people.
"Greece violates the Lausanne Peace Treaty by not recognizing the muftis selected by the Turkish minority," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hami Aksoy said.
Aksoy, said the move violated the minority's religious rights.
Underlining that this decree would eliminate the autonomy of the Mufti establishment in the country, he urged Greece to have intimate and comprehensive communication with the Turkish minority to resolve this problem in line with the Lausanne Treaty.
He said Greece must recognize the muftis elected by the minority and reverse its policy of imposing illegally appointed ones.
Aksoy also underlined that it was "worrying" that such intrusive and negative acts took place in an EU member state.
In Greece, the muftis of the Turkish minority in Western Trace are appointed by the government; however, the Turkish minority rejects this policy and demands the muftis be locally-elected by them.
Today, about 150,000 ethnic Turkish people reside in Western Thrace with their status set by the Lausanne Peace Treaty of 1923 and their rights guaranteed by several bilateral and multilateral agreements.
The Turkish minority of Greece faces a variety of issues including state denial of ethnic identity, inadequate education provision and restrictions on freedom of religion, purchase of property and political representation.