The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave a harsh response to Turkey for its objections regarding the illegal election of Muslim minority muftis in Thrace.
Athens calls on Turkey to indicate which article of the Treaty of Lausanne refers to the election of Muftis for the minority, speaks of "fake news" on behalf of Ankara and emphasises that Greece follows a modern and organised minority policy.
On the contrary, Turkey continues to encroach on the rights of the almost extinct Greek Minority in Istanbul, Imvros and Tenedos, the Foreign Ministry emphasised.
In the announcement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it states specifically:
"The Turkish side is attempting, once again, to distort reality and project false news regarding the Muslim Minority in Thrace.
"It is worth asking in which provision of the Treaty of Lausanne, which is systematically violated by Turkey, it is stated that the muftis of the Muslim Minority in Thrace are elected.
"We expect the Turkish side to point us to the specific article.
"It is at least an oxymoron that Turkey is attempting to establish in a third country procedures for the election of religious leaders, which it does not apply in its own territory.
"As is known, the Hellenic Parliament recently passed a law on the modernisation of the Muftis. This law creates a modern and comprehensive institutional framework for Muftis in Thrace.
"The framework is fully compatible with the Constitution of Greece and the country's international obligations, as defined by the Treaty of Lausanne, the European Convention on Human Rights, the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, as well as the principles and rules of Islam.
"Greece, a European democracy and rule of law, fully respects its obligations towards the Muslim Minority in Thrace that derive from the Treaty of Lausanne.
"It will continue to follow a composed minority policy which promotes the welfare of the Minority.
"On the contrary, Turkey continues to violate the rights of the almost extinct Greek Minority in Istanbul, Imvros and Tenedos.
"It is even held that Turkey made a relevant announcement a few days after the sad anniversary of the September 1955 attacks, which, if nothing else, could be an occasion for reflection on Turkey's part."
Ankara over the past few years has increased the propaganda of a "Turkish minority" in Western Thrace.
Turkey’s own Foreign Ministry website affirms that there is only a Muslim minority in Thrace.
The Treaty of Lausanne Part VI Article 2 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.”
This did not stop Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan from saying on Saturday that "some 150,000 people of Turkish descent live in Western Thrace today, but Greece does not show them the respect those citizens deserve."
Of course, of that 150,000, Erdoğan labels Greek Muslims, Pomaks (Slavic-speaking Muslims) and Roma as "Turkish."
READ MORE: Thrace's Muslim Roma: We are Greek citizens, not Turks (VIDEO)