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Politics

Erdogan Ally Says Greece Using “Fascist Policy” Against Muslims

ANKARA — Without noting Greece built an official mosque in Athens, the leader of Turkey's Nationalist Party Movement (MHP) said Greece has a “fascist policy,” against a a Muslim minority, repeating Turkish demands for a greater role for them.

MHP leader Devlet Bahceli said that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis  had during a video conference with the pupils of a kindergarten in Pachni, a Pomak village in the Xanthi regional unit misidentified “Turkish children as Greek children.”

Bahceli told his party's deputies that,  “Mitsotakis messed up, he was caught up in a delirium ..  these are Turkish children. Pasavik is not a Pomak village,” he said, while urging the European Parliament to condemn what he described as Greece’s “policy of (forced) assimilation, said Kathimerini.

Mitsotakis watched a lesson at the kindergarten where there were 17 students back in class as a COVID-19 lenient lockdown was being further pulled back for schools to open again.

They were children who belong to the Muslim religious minority of Thrace and speak fluent Greek, which they are taught in their school, and sang a song about the Coronavirus which they wrote themselves to the prime minister.

Turkey demands that Greece refer to them as Turks and not only a Muslim minority and wants them to be able to appoint their own mufti, a religious leader, instead of the Greek government doing so.

Earlier in May,  Turkey's Deputy Foreign Minister Yavuz Selim Kıran accused Greece of violations and is upset mosques in Greece's second-largest city of Thessaloniki aren't being allowed to operate.

He spoke at a news conference in Turkey’s Consulate General in Komotini as he visited Thrace and Thessaloniki and said Turkish officials have asked Greek authorities to open mosques, Turkey's pro-government The Daily Sabah said.

Turkey plans to make complaints against Greece to the European Union, the report said, Turkey's government citing the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne it doesn't recognize unless invoking to its advantage.

Turkey said there are as many as 150,000 Turks living in Western Thrace and said their rights were guaranteed under the treaty that Erdogan doesn't apply when it comes to islands ceded to Greece he wants back.

Greece's Foreign Ministry rejected the charges and said the Muslim community in northern Greece is doing well but that they're not Turkish even if they claim so.

“Greece remains firmly committed to its international obligations, fully respecting international law, which is a compass of its foreign policy,” sources not named told the newspaper Kathimerini.

“The Muslim minority, which is flourishing, numbers about 120,000 inhabitants, Greek citizens,” the same sources added. “Any attempt to distort reality and falsify this information, wherever it comes from, is self-evidently dismissible and needs no further comment.”

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