Muslims living in the northeast Greek province of Thrace on the Turkish border call on Ankara to stop making propaganda and claims on their behalf. Christians and Muslims live together harmoniously despite the communication war waged by the Turkish consulate in Komotini.
OPEN TV has performed some interviews with the local people in the Thracian town of Komotini, which is mainly populated by Turkish-speaking Muslims.
This was in order to show the truth about the Muslims relationship with Greek-speaking Christians inhabiting Thrace.
Turkish media propaganda tends to portray the Muslim population in Thrace (which they usually proclaim as ''Turks'') as ''living under oppression'' by the Greek state, as well as Muslims having rivalry tensions with the Christian population.
This video exposes the lies of Turkish media and politicians about the subject and also shows that the way of living for Muslims and Christians in Thrace is in fact quite harmonious and cooperative.
The last thing they would want would be Turkey acting as an interventionist police state in the region and invading Thrace under the pretext of ''protecting Muslim rights."
Last week, Turkish spokesman İbrahim Kalın raised the so-called issue of the "Turkish minority" in Thrace.
"The issues between Greece and Turkey are not only about the eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean. There are issues such as the problems of the Muslim Turkish minority in Greece and the election of muftis. The Greek governments to date have not taken steps to satisfy fundamental freedoms and fundamental rights," Kalın said.
However, what do Muslims in Thrace say about living in Greece?
''We live harmoniously, our coexistence has worked well for many years and still continues to exist," a Mufti told OPEN TV.
"We are all Greek citizens, Muslims have the same rights that Christians have," said another Greek Muslim.
A third Greek Muslim interviewed in Komitini told OPEN TV that Bulgarian Muslims, known as Pomaks, are being brainwashed to become "janissaries," the famed elite guard of the Ottoman Empire who were initially Christian children kidnapped and forced to become Turkish-speaking Muslims.
''If we even go to the last village, we will find a [Turkish] mufti or teacher brainwashing Pomak children to become the janissaries of tomorrow," said the last Greek Muslim interviewed.
#Greece: Muslims living in Thrace call on #Turkey to stop propaganda and claims.
Christians and Muslims live together harmoniously despite the communication war waged by the #Turkish consulate in #Komotini.#Christians and #Muslims grow up together. pic.twitter.com/pz6Aeh4amF
— TURKEFSYN (@TURKEFSYNTAKT0N) September 1, 2020
There are 150,000 Muslims in Western Thrace, but this does not make them automatically ethnically Turkish. The 150,000 number is not only ethnic of ethnic Turks, but also Muslim Roma, 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-speaking, 35% are Pomaks and 15% are Roma.
Earlier this year, Hamza Osman, the Mufti of Didymoteicho, a small town only 2 kilometers from the Greek-Turkish border and a center for the Greek military, told the Muslims of this region to respect Good Friday mourning and Easter, as reported by Greek City Times.
“We all know that next week will be a week of mourning for our Christian fellow citizens according to their own religion and we, as faithful Muslims, must show our respect for this fact,” he said at the time.
Inter-communal respect and tolerance is well known in Thrace despite Turkish attempts to create internal problems for Greece.
This article was authored by Jim Aristopoulos, a social anthropologist and historian.