The reactions of Pomaks (Slavic-speaking Muslims in Greece’s Western Thrace region) against their labelling as “Turks” by Turkey continues in view of the forthcoming visit of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Sunday.
After the Cultural Association of Pomaks of Xanthi, which emphasised that “we are Pomaks and Greek citizens, not Turkish,” an announcement was issued by the Panhellenic Association of Pomaks.
In fact, the statement was so harsh that they declared Çavuşoğlu a “persona non grata” (ie. not welcome) to the Pomak villages of Xanthi.
An announced by the president of the Association, Imam Ahmed, states, as reported by Foni Rodopis:
“Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, YOU ARE UNWANTED!
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğl, expressing the history of our proud people, the voice of the free Pomaks, the memory of our girls who were crushed by the dozens of mountain peaks of the Rhodope Mountains and the Ottoman conquerors, the conscience of Pomak activists who in recent decades, have faced racist violence, beatings, threats, social and economic exclusion from paid representatives of your country’s nationalism, supporters of fascism/terrorism: YOU ARE UNDESIRABLE IN POMAKOCHORIA [A collection of Pomak villagers].
THE ONLY REASON FOR WHICH YOU SHOULD VISIT OUR HEROIC VILLAGES, WOULD BE TO ASK FOR A DEEP AND SINCERE APOLOGY FOR WHAT YOU HAVE DONE.
The democratic and civilized country of Australia established MAY 26 as a DAY OF NATIONAL APOLOGY for the atrocities committed by the colonial ancestors of today’s Australians against the aboriginal inhabitants.
It is a great opportunity to enter the realm of civilized countries, following the example of Australia, asking us Indigenous Thracians, for FORGIVENESS!
Otherwise, you are UNWANTED in Pomakochoria, you are a PERSONA NON GRATA!
Instead of the Pomak villages, we recommend you visit the blood-stained villages of the Kurds of Turkey and Syria, visiting the graves of the hundreds of thousands of murdered citizens, but also the democratic journalists and politicians of Turkey, who are rotting in your state prisons, and whose children and grandchildren you killed as well as all those who persecute the regime of your country en masse and by any means.”
Turkey repeatedly claims that the 120,000-strong Muslim minority in Greece’s Thrace are “Turkish,” despite the fact that Turkish-speakers make up a minority of the group who overwhelmingly identify as Greek, Pomak or Roma.
Turkey’s own Foreign Ministry website affirms that there is only officially a Muslim minority in Western Thrace via the Treaty of Lausanne Part VI Article 2, that states:
“Moslems established in the region to the east of the frontier line laid down in 1918 by the Treaty of Bucharest shall be considered as Moslem inhabitants of Western Thrace.”