Turkey Presses Demands for Turkish Minority in Greece’s Thrace

ΑΝΚΑRA — While refusing to open the Halki Seminary in Constantinople after 50 years and converting the ancient revered Agia Sophia Orthodox Church there into a mosque, Turkey is insisting on more rights for Muslims living in Greece's Western , 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 although an official state-paid mosque opened in Athens.

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 its 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 – Greece calls them Muslims – living in western Thrace and said their rights were guaranteed under the treaty that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan doesn't apply when it comes to islands ceded to Greece that he now wants back.

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

“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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Mission…to Alonnisos, a TNH Documentary

O oceanic you sing and sail White on your body and yellow on your chimeneas For you're tired of the filthy waters of the harbors You who loved the distant Sporades You who lifted the tallest flags You who sail clear through the most dangerous caves Hail to you who let yourself be charmed by the sirens Hail to you for never having been afraid of the Symplegades (Andreas Empeirikos)   What traveler has not been fascinated by the Greek islands, drawn by the Sirens’ song of a traveler’s dreams? TNH and our video show ‘Mission’ marked the change of the season by transporting viewers into the heart of summer.

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