It is paradoxical that Turkey tells Greece to respect minority rights, says Greek MFA

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The Greek Foreign Ministry has hit back at Turkey's continuous false allegations that Greece mistreats the Muslim minority in Western Thrace.

"It is at least paradoxical, if not funny, that Turkey indicates to Greece the need to respect minority rights," the Greek Foreign Ministry said in a statement today.

The Foreign Ministry then recalled how Turkey exterminated its minorities in the 1900's.

"History will forever be the most objective witness to the systematic way in which Turkey has systematically eliminated all minorities in its territory during the twentieth century," the statement said.

It was then highlighted that Greece has equality for all its citizens, whether they are ethnic Greek Christians or belong to the Muslim minority of Thrace.

"Regarding the educational choices of the Greek State, they are made equally and without discrimination for all Greek citizens, always based solely on the quality of education provided and the interest of students," the statement said, adding that "specifically for the Muslims, we operate 115 minority primary schools."

"By the way, in Constantinople in 1955. there were 54 Greek primary schools, now there are 3. Does the Turkish leadership know?" the Ministry concluded.

Turkey claims there are 150,000 ethnic Turks in the Western Thrace that are discriminated against. But this could not be further from the truth.

There are 150,000 Muslims in Western Thrace, but this does not make them automatically ethnically Turkish. Of that 150,000 number there are not only ethnic Turks, but also Muslim Roma, Slavic Muslims known as Pomaks, and yes, as many as you might not even know, ethnic Greek Muslims who converted during the Ottoman era but maintained their Greek identity.

The Greek government in 1999 reported that in Western Thrace, 50% of the Muslims are Turkish, 35% are Pomaks and 15% are Roma.

Turkey claims that Muslim minority schools are being shut down discriminately, but does not mention that between 2009 and 2014, 1,705 schools all across Greece shut down because of austerity measures during the economic crisis. Many schools after 2014 also shut down because of a lack of funding, but highlighting the reality of austerity Greece does not fit the propaganda narrative of Turkey.

In 1955, Turkish intelligence spread the false rumour that the birth house of Atatürk in Greece’s second city of Thessaloniki was destroyed. This rumour led to Turkish mobs conducting a pogrom against the Greek minority in Constantinople, leading to the decimation through violent means of the city’s 120,000 Greeks. Today there are only 3,000-4,000 Greeks in Constantinople, another mark on Turkey's reprehensible record against minorities.