Irking Turkey, Greece Will Still Select Muslim Clerics in Thrace

ATHENS – Greece will continue to choose a mufti – cleric – for the Muslim population of Thrace in the northeastern part of the country, over objections from Turkey about the selection process.

A new law lets the Turkish minorityform an advisory board of 33 people, chosen from among scholars of Islamic sciences and imams to assess and submit finalists to the Education Ministry – which picks one.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry described the provisions of the law as “unacceptable” and urged Greece to “respect international law and fulfil its obligations” under the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne – which Turkey doesn’t recognize.

Greece said that the process doesn’t deny the community the right to have a key part in who will be considered and is “fully compatible with the constitution of Greece and the country’s international obligations,” said Kathimerini.

Greece’s Foreign Ministry responded the law was drawn up after a long consultation with representatives of the Turkish minority and “creates a modern and integrated institutional framework for muftis in Thrace.”

“Our Muslim fellow citizens in Thrace live in a European country. They enjoy everything that a democratic and well-governed state provides to all its citizens, without exceptions,” the Greek ministry said of some 120,000 Muslims in Thrace.


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