Muslim mayor in Thrace faces charges of inciting racism, reads poem dedicated to Turkish soldiers

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The mayor of the Muslim-majority municipality of Iasmos Rodopis in northeast Greece, Mumin Oder, will have to give explanations to prosecutors about what he had provocatively declared last February at a racist and anti-Greek event in the Turkish city of Bursa.

The Muslim Turkish-speaking mayor of Iasmos Rodopis will have to appear in the next few days at the Komotini Police Headquarters, in order to give a testimony to potential charges that he incited racist hatred. He might be charged with the Anti-Racism Law and Articles 184-186 of the Penal Code that has a maximum sentence of three years imprisonment. The Prosecutor will then decide whether or not a criminal act has been committed in order to prosecute or not.

Last February, the mayor of Iasmos Rodopis, during his speech at the annual general assembly of the Bursa branch of the Western Thrace Turkish Solidarity Association, proceeded to give an anti-Greek sermon. Going one step further, he set out his mission to become closer to his Turkish "motherland," ignoring that 30% of the residents of the municipality of Iasmos-Rodopis are Christian and the region has been Greek for thousands of years.

Oder ended his speech by reciting verses from a poem that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan read and addressed to the Turkish army. He also referred to Sadık Ahmet, the late ultra-nationalist leader of some of Greece's Muslim minority, provocatively stating that he was "sacrificed." Ahmet died when he crashed his car into a tractor, but Oder adopted Turkey's narrative that he was assassinated instead.

These provocative comments by Oder were made with the flags of an "independent Turkish Western Thrace."

Following the reactions in Greece, the mayor of Iasmos Rodopis spoke about statements that were "deliberately falsified", trying to justify the unjustifiable.