The New Delusions of Erdoğan and Çelik: New threats against the Greek islands and Thrace

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan delusions

There is no end to the provocations and delusions on the part of Ankara, which has now adopted an extreme rhetoric against Greece, which even includes direct threats.

Yesterday, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan once again personally attacked the Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, questioning the sovereignty regime in the Aegean islands, at a time when Greek-American defence cooperation has been significantly strengthened.

However, the statements of the representative of the ruling party of Turkey, Ömer Çelik, who spoke of a “Turkish minority” in Thrace and accused Athens of “discrimination policies” also moved in the same incendiary tone.

Erdoğan’s delusion about the islands

In the context of his interview on the TRT Haber network, Erdoğan first referred to the agreement on the unblocking of grain from Ukraine and then spoke – in an inflammatory tone – about the lunch with the Greek prime minister.

“We had dinner with Mitsotakis at the Vahdettin Pavilion. At that dinner, I said to him: ‘Let us not involve a third country in our deliberations.’ It’s been three weeks. He gave his speech to Congress. From there he returned to Davos. He did similar things,” Erdoğan said.

Moving onto threats, the Turkish president said the following: “In any negative step against Turkey, we will react.”

In a delusional mood, Erdoğan added: “Watching a situation that is against the terms of the Treaty of Lausanne and Paris, we will do whatever is necessary when the time comes.”

Mitsotakis probably does not know that the sovereignty of the islands was given to him on the condition that they remain demilitarised. He will learn.”

Çelik: Athens should stop the “politics of discrimination”

The representative of Erdoğan’s party, the AKP, Ömer Çelik, in turn referred to the visit of the deputy foreign minister of Turkey to Thrace.

He called on Greece to “end policies of discrimination against the Turkish minority”, as he defiantly claimed, pointing out that “Turkey wants to solve these problems with a policy of principles and consistency”.

“Once again, Greece took a wrong step. They closed four schools of the Turkish minority. It is wrong to keep these children away from education. This is a policy of assimilation,” said Çelik in particular.

He added: “Once again we call on Greece to end these policies of discrimination against the ‘Turkish’ minority.”

“Turkey wants to solve these problems with a policy of principles and consistency. But unfortunately when we see policies like in the last issue with Mitsotakis who said one thing to the president of our republic and another to the American congress, then the bank of diplomacy is being destroyed by Greece,” asserted Çelik in particular.

There are 150,000 Muslims in Western Thrace, but this does not make them automatically ethnically Turkish. Within that 150,000 number are mostly Muslim Roma, Slavic Muslims known as 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 recognition of a Muslim minority in Western Thrace, and not ethnic identities, is a result of the 1923 Peace Treaty of Lausanne.

Part VI Article 2 of the Treaty of Lausanne, as published in English by the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 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.”

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