Greece hit back at Turkey’s false claims that the Muslim minority in Greece’s Thrace are persecuted against, with the Foreign Ministry reminding that while there are 120,000 Muslims in Thrace, there are only 3,000 Greeks in Turkey.
“Turkey distorts reality with unfounded accusations and fake news,” the Greek Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding “The Greek side rejects these accusations.”
“Greece, unlike Turkey, continues to fully implement the provisions of the Treaty of Lausanne. The numbers speak for themselves.
“The Muslim minority in Thrace numbers approximately 120,000 members. The Greek minority in Turkey has shrunk to just 3,000 members; while the two minorities were equal in number at the time the Treaty of Lausanne was signed.”
The 1923 Treaty of Lausanne saw a population exchange of Christians and Muslims between Greece and Turkey, with Muslims in Thrace and Greeks in Constantinople, Tenedos and Imvros exempt.
In violation of the Treaty of Lausanne, Turkey claims that the 120,000 Muslims in Thrace are Turkish, despite the majority being Greek, Pomaks (Slavic Muslims) and Roma.
Turkey’s own Foreign Ministry website affirms that there is only a Muslim minority in 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.”
The Greek Foreign Ministry then hit back at Turkey’s claims that Muslim Minority schools are being discriminately shut down by the state.
“For the academic year 2021-2022, more than 100 minority primary schools will operate in Thrace while only three will operate in Istanbul,” the Greek Foreign Ministry said.
“With regards to what is stated in the relevant press release of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is noted that, as is known, the criterion for suspending the operation of schools in Greece is the non-completion of a minimum number of nine students.
“In addition to the 12 minority schools, another 24 public primary schools were suspended in the region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace alone; a fact that highlights equal and not discriminatory treatment of minority students in Greece.
“Moreover, the recent legislation of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs concerned public schools, while specific legislation regarding minority schools was introduced with a view to ensuring the respect of the Treaty of Lausanne and, of course, taking into account the specific nature of these schools.
“This legislation does not introduce any discrimination against minority schools but instead fulfills Greece’s obligation to maintain their special status.”
After highlighting that Greece is governed by the rule of law, fully protects and guarantees the human rights and freedoms of all its citizens, the Foreign Ministry said “Turkey ranks second worst regarding the non-execution of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) judgements, with 643 judgements pending implementation.”