In a swift and stern response to provocative statements by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu during the Turkish minister’s private visit to Thrace on Sunday, foreign ministry spokesperson Alexandros Papaioannou stressed that Greece fully respects the obligations arising from the Lausanne Treaty, “which refers clearly and explicitly to a Muslim minority in Thrace.”
He called on Turkey to respect the fundamental rules of international law, including the Treaty of Lausanne, which Turkey has also signed and is therefore obliged to implement.
The foreign ministry spokesperson noted that the Muslim minority in Thrace numbers some 120,000 Greek residents and indicated that the constant efforts by Turkey to distort this reality and its constant claims regarding the supposed non-protection of the rights of these citizens or of supposedly discriminatory treatment against them were without any basis and wholly rejected. Papaioannou said that Greece, as a state governed by the rule of law, remains dedicated to international law and the protection of human rights.
He also noted that Greece would like an improvement of relations with Turkey but respect for international law is an essential condition for this.
Turkey’s foreign minister, is scheduled to meet PM Mitsotakis and FM Nikos Dendias in Athens on Monday.
Cavusoglu arrived at the Turkish consulate in Komotini, where he met Ahmet Mete and Ibrahim Serif, self-styled ‘muftis’ of Xanthi and Komotini whom the Greek state sees as usurping the authority of the legal, state-appointed muftis. He then visited the minority high school in Komotini and spoke with members of the school board and a group of students. Leaving the school, he also mingled with and greeted members of the Muslim minority before visiting the village Thamna for a meal with representatives of the minority./ Source: ANA-MPA