Ilchan Achmet slams Turkish consul in Komotini after disrespecting President Sakellaropoulou

Ilchan Achmet

"Greece is a sovereign country, and every consul must respect the country he is in and the protocol," commented the minority member of parliament for Rodopi of PASOK Ilchan Achmet on the indecent behaviour of the Turkish consul in Komotini, Aykut Ünal, during the recent visit of its President of the Republic of Katerina Sakellaropoulou to the region.

The Turkish consul left the official dinner given in honour of the president by the Democritus University of Thrace at a hotel in Komotini after being awarded an honorary doctorate last Wednesday.

He left as he was sat at the same table as the legal Guardian Muftis of Thrace, which Turkey does not recognise as they are not under their control and fight against Turkification efforts of the Muslim minority in Western Thrace.

The consul was asked to be moved and left when his request was denied.

As usual, the officials' positions at the official meals are determined by the protocol and the Presidency of the Republic. Based on this, it was decided where the Turkish diplomat invited to the dinner would sit.

According to the newspaper "Voice of Rhodope", the Turkish consul demanded that he be changed. His demand was, of course, not accepted, and as a result, he left the official dinner, showing indecency and lack of respect towards the President of the Republic.

"These behaviours do not help the effort for better relationships."

Speaking on DELTA TV, PASOK's Rodopi MP Ilchan Achmet, who is a thorn for the Turkish consulate and their efforts to Turkify Greece's Muslim minority, criticised the behaviour of Mr Ünal.

"Greece is a sovereign country, and every consul must respect the country and the protocol. Two years ago, when the Archbishop of America Elpidophoros came, we had the same incident again. According to protocol, he was assigned to sit there. For example, when I was at the meal, I found myself at the same table as the SYRIZA member of parliament with whom we do not have the best relations, but we sat down. Because he was instructed to sit at the table where the Muftis were, he reacted, as Murat Ömeroğlu's predecessor had also reacted, and left because it wasn't his thing."

He also stated, "These behaviours do not help the efforts of Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Erdoğan, who seem to be trying to grasp the thread of better relations and improve the climate. His behaviour was commented on negatively, and I think this is not good for Turkish foreign policy."

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.”

Of the approximate 150,000 Muslims in Western Thrace, the majority are Greek Muslims, Pomaks (Slavic-speaking Muslims) and Roma, with only a minority speaking Turkish.

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