The chairman of a small political party based in Thrace, home of the Muslim minority in Greece, has reportedly filed a lawsuit against former Foreign Minister, Theodoros Pangalos for having said on a radio interview “A good Turk is a dead Turk.”
On 13. February Theodoros Pangalos was invited to a Skai Radio program to comment on the incident where a Turkish coast guard boat rammed a Greek patrol boat off the islet of Imia. Pangalos, who served as Foreign Minister 1996-1999, said among others: “In my political career I met many Turks. But I did not meet a good Turk. The best Turk is the dead Turk.” He was FM when the big Imia crisis broke out in 1996 that brought the two neighboring countries on the verge of a military conflict.
The chairman of “Peace and Friendship Party” (DEB), Mustafa Alicavus, told Turkish news agency Anadolu, that Pangalos’ statement is “a serious offense, it is unacceptably racist and fascist.”
In his lawsuit submitted to the prosecutor of Rodopi Prefecture, Alicavus, argued that with such a statement Pangalos incites hate among people and violates the articles of the Greek Penal Code that refer to racism and xenophobia.
“What Pangalaos said about the Turks is unacceptable and constitutes a serious offense. We expect the Greek justice to do its job,” the DEB chairman noted.
Alicavus said further that apart from his own part, no other political party or the government reacted to what Pangalos said and that this was “a cause of frustration for the Turks living in the country.” He added “I want to say that this horrible and racist a phrase mentioned by Pangalos, targets the 150,000 citizens of the Turkish minority of Western Thrace who are citizens of the country and is a serious offense for the entire minority.”
Alicavus is right to feel offended by the statement of a former FM and ex veteran politician whom Greek voters sent home a couple of years ago. But let’s put some things right.
What Alicavus probably does not know is that hardly anyone in Greece takes Pangalos seriously and thus since almost a decade. Exactly as – I assume – nobody takes Erdogan’s top adviser Yigit Bulut seriously when he announces on a TV show that he will “break the legs of the Greek Prime Minister or any minister who will step on Imia.” In the same legal sense, Bulut’s statement is also an “incite to hate and violence.” did anyone file against Bulut? No. Not even any member of the Greek minority in Istanbul or the Greek-speaking Orthodoxs as Ankara would call them.
Furthermore, there are no Turks in Thrace but a Muslim minority consisting of Turkish-speaking Muslims, Bulgarian-speaking Pomaks and Muslim Roma.