There is no there is no Turkish minority in the Dodecanese, Emmanouil Konsolas, the Deputy Minister of Tourism, a Member of Parliament for the Dodecanese, and an Associate Professor at the University of the Aegean, highlighted in an article.
Turkey has been pursuing a revisionist and expansionist policy since the beginning of 2000, without pretext. The “discovery” of a Turkish minority in the Dodecanese serves this very policy, as it challenges Greek sovereignty in our islands.
At the legal level and in the field of International Law, the argument about the Turkish minority in Rhodes and Kos cannot stand.
There is no Turkish minority in the Dodecanese, there are only Greek citizens with the same rights, regardless of their religious beliefs and cultural backgrounds.
It is recalled that with Article 19 of the Paris Peace Treaty of 1947 and with the accession of the Dodecanese to the Greek State, Muslims, Greek citizens living in Rhodes and Kos, receive the same rights as other Greeks.
According to the Treaty of Lausanne, the only legally recognized minority in Greece is the Muslim Minority in Thrace.
Greece, including the Dodecanese, over time have shown respect for the principles of religious freedom and human and democratic rights.
In the realm of real life, where everything is seen and judged, Christians and Muslims in Rhodes and Kos have been living harmoniously for decades.
There is full respect for Muslim monuments and mosques, which are preserved and where necessary, restoration work is underway.
And of course no comparison can be made with the treatment of the Erdoğan regime at world heritage site, such as the Hagia Sophia.
The establishment of a department of Islamic Studies at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and a quota for Muslim students to universities, shows the level of democratic and religious freedoms in our country.
This is in contrast to Turkey.
Our Muslim compatriots in the Dodecanese, Greek citizens like us, are not going to let anyone poison our peaceful and harmonious coexistence in a democratic country like Greece.
This harmonious and peaceful coexistence creates good citizens. Our Muslim compatriots are peaceful people who live, work and create in the Dodecanese.
The recent espionage case investigated by the Judiciary and the Turkish authorities does not invalidate the above conclusion.
In closing, with particular satisfaction, I would like to underline the announcement of the Cultural Association of Muslims of Rhodes, which denounces an attempt of exploitation on the part of Turkey:
“We are Greek citizens, we respect and honor our country and its laws. Political games and nationalist references on our backs are not acceptable, no matter where they come from. Whoever does not honor their status as a Greek citizen is not worthy to bear Greek citizenship.”
These words, we all endorse and are our own response, Christians and Muslims, to Turkey’s effort to “discover” a Turkish minority in Rhodes.