The protesting by the Recep Tayyip Erdoğan regime against Greece’s so-called violations of religious freedoms because of the racist slogans written against Turks in the elevator of the apartment building where the Pomak (Bulgarian Muslim) pseudo-mufti Ahmet Mete lives in Thrace, goes beyond that.
This is because in contrast to Greece, where the rights of Muslims are fully respected (the mosque that was recently built in Athens was funded by the Greek State), the rights of religious minorities in Turkey are a bad tasting anecdote.
The Turkish Constitution indeed proclaims religious freedom, allowing free conduct of religious ceremonies if they do not turn against the integrity of the State.
But the notion of respect for religious freedom in the Turkish conscience is, in practice, an interpretation of religious tolerance as their Ottoman ancestors once understood – the supremacy of Islam is taken for granted.
In their view, Muslims have primacy and can impose their conditions on non-Muslims, while the use of violence (physical or psychological, direct or indirect) is not excluded, which is why unspeakable savagery often occurs against religious minorities in Turkey.
It is an indisputable historical fact that the non-Muslim element in Turkey has always been under informal persecution, which is why non-Muslims are now only 0.4% of the total Turkish population!
A typical example is the Greek Orthodox community, which during the Greek-Turkish population exchange of 1923 numbered 200,000 people, but today is only 1,800 because the Turkish state engaged in a systematic campaign of extermination and expulsion of Greeks for decades. They used heavy taxation, confiscated estates, and banned the teaching of the Greek language.
No one can and should not forget the barbaric and heinous pogrom of September 1955 committed by the Turks, which was the culmination of all the persecutions against the Greek minority.
Even today, however, not much seems to have changed in the Turks policy against religious minorities.
According to the 2019 US Report on Religious Freedom in Turkey, a report that collected data from various organizations (such as the Middle East Concern, International Christian Concern, World Watch Monitor and others), found that Ankara deported Christians, especially Protestants, as well as banned or refused to extend their residence permits in Turkey.
In addition, the Turkish government has serious restrictions on the education of Christian clergy in Turkey, especially since the Theological School of Halki closed in 1971. Instead of reopening the theological school, the government has announced the creation of an Islamic Training Center on the island.
The Turks deliberately ensure that the required legal framework for non-Muslim institutions is not adopted so that their committees cannot hold elections. This is so that over time they lose their ability to manage the property and then the Turkish state can acquire it.
The 2019 Report also includes a large number of reports of vandalism, graffiti and threatening messages against Christians and Jews, as well as posters of religious hatred sweeping the Turks consciousness, especially in the east.
Add to this the desecration of Christian churches, the conversion of world-class Christian monuments into mosques like Hagia Sophia, and the establishment of a completely Islam-oriented education system.
In light of all the above, the recent invitation of Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül to representatives of non-Muslim religious minorities to meet in Dolmabahçe Palace to discuss their problems can only be considered as a pretext.
He is, after all, the same person who spoke in July about the legal need to change the status of Hagia Sophia and turn it into a mosque… so much respect, that is, to other religions!
With their country a global tail in respect for human rights and in view of the summit of European leaders later this month and the coming of the Democrats in the White House in January, the Turks once again put on their carnival mask.
The carnival marks are not for protection against COVID-19, but to pretend they are advanced and Europeanized in the eyes of the international community, skillfully hiding all their dark middle ages actions.
The views of the author do not necessarily reflect those of Greek City Times.