Gümülcine Seçilmiş Müftülüğü

At a time when Greece is being tested by the coronavirus pandemic, some in Thrace are calling for the Muslim minority to “raise money for their motherland, Turkey.”

Questions are now being levelled against the “elected Mufti of Komotini” who asked for money from Muslim Greek citizens in Thrace to economically assist their Turkish “motherland,” while the coronavirus continues to spread in Greece.

The “elected Mufti” has no legitimacy as only the Greek state can appoint Mufti’s for the Muslim community, just as the Turkish state also appoints Mufti’s to their mosques.

“As religious officials of Rodopi and Evros prefecture, with the thought that we must help our homeland Greece and our motherland Turkey, we began to gather material help between us. But because there are our expatriates who want to contribute to the campaign, we have decided to expand it,” the statement by Gümülcine Seçilmiş Müftülüğü, which is published in Turkish and circulated on social media, said.

Posted by Gümülcine Seçilmiş Müftülüğü on Saturday, 4 April 2020

“Thus, our expatriates who on this occasion wish to help, through the religious officials of the municipalities and villages can transfer their help to us,” concluded Müftülüğü.

The announcement bears the signatures of two bodies: the Elected Mufti of Komotini and the Association of Religious Officials of Western Thrace Mosques.

The tone of the statement are like those that were made a while ago by the Muslim mayor of Iasmos, Mumin Onter.

Onter stated that “the new mission of the Municipality of Iasmos is to embrace the motherland”, while he had spoken of a “Turkish minority in Thrace,” declaring his allegiance to “his Turkism.”

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, who refers to the Greek Muslim minority “as a “Turkish minority in Western Thrace,” is also on the same wavelength, ignoring the Treaty of Lausanne that is written on the Turkish Foreign Affairs Ministry website, and refers to only a Muslim minority in Thrace, not a Turkish one.

He hastened to contact local residents about the coronavirus issue. A move that local officials hastened to make public in order to spread the “sincere” interest of the “motherland” for the residents of Western Thrace.

For his part, Xanthi’s lawyer Stergios Gialaoglou answered legal questions to Sputnik Hellas:

“The questions that arise are: With what legitimacy do they seek to raise material aid? Who is the “Elected Mufti of Komotini”? Who gave them the opportunity to operate legally and illegally? At a time when your homeland, Greece, is being tested, your mind is to collect – after the backwardness of your compatriots – money and supplies for another country? Who will raise the money? (the association of religious officials that functions as a union, in order to overcome the thorn in the side?) With what legalization? In which bank account? And if no account is used, how will the destination of any “help” be checked? The faithful will give money and supplies to “glorify” the “instrument” of the Turkish Government in Greece,” Gialaoglou said.

The lawyer claims that the institution that appeals for the donation has no legitimacy to do so, especially after the relevant decisions of the Council of State, while talking about Turkey’s intervention in the interior of our country:

“The operation of the ‘elected muftis’ is proof of the overt intervention of a foreign country (Turkey) in the interior of Greece. Encouraging organizations or individuals acting as a parallel structure against the Mufti chosen by the Greek State is an interference in the internal affairs of a foreign country, a clear intrusion of internal legal order and security, and an act of hostility and unacceptable,” the lawyer explained.

Following the recent decisions of the STE (2100,2101 / 2019) where the Greek Justice has now ruled irrevocably that in Greece there is no institution of “elected” Mufti, and the Muftis are religious officials, civil servants appointed by the Greek state, the continuation of this practice imposed by Turkey is a disobedience to the laws of the state and an openly anti-Greek and malicious act. The Rodopi Prosecutor’s Office should immediately take action to investigate the offences of religious discrimination and fraud. And it is a good opportunity to check who is financing these actions of both the paramilitary and the religious officials who are paid by each mosque out of the more than 200 that operate in Thrace. The black money flowing through the Turkish Consulate in Thrace must be traced at some point,” he urged.

According to information published by the Greek media, a letter sent by the General Directorate of Turkish Institutions to minority institutions appeals to the minorities to help with donations to the national campaign to fight the new virus.