Greece’s Foreign Ministry reacted to the claim by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu calling the “Muslim minority” in north-eastern Greece “Turkish minority.” Furthermore, it was only Athens that reacted with anger, it was also the Pomaks* in Thrace, who warned the Turkish FM to not visit their villages and that he was declared “persona non grata.”
The Pomaks are Bulgarian-speaking Muslims inhabiting Bulgaria, northeastern Gree
Greece fully implements its obligations under the Treaty of Lausanne, which explicitly and clearly refers to a Muslim minority in Thrace.
The Muslim Minority in Thrace numbers approximately 120,000 Greek citizens, the ministry added.
Greece, being a state governed by the rule of law, remains firmly committed to International Law and the protection of human rights, the statement stressed..
“Turkey’s continuous efforts to distort reality, as well as its claims alleging lack of protection of these citizens’ rights or discrimination, are unfounded and are rejected in their entirety,” Athens underlined.
Greece would welcome the improvement of its relations with Turkey. However, the respect for International Law is a prerequisite.
We call on Turkey to respect these fundamental rules, including the Treaty of Lausanne, which it has also signed and is obliged to implement, the statement concluded.
Sunday morning, when Turkish FM arrived in Thrace, he tweeted:
#BatıTrakya’daki soydaşlarımızla buluşmak ve ikili ilişkilerimizi ele almak üzere #Yunanistan'dayız.
In #Greece to meet members of Turkish Minority in #WesternThrace and discuss our bilateral relations. pic.twitter.com/9eJ59jNlsy
— Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (@MevlutCavusoglu) May 30, 2021
This wasn’t a good start diplomatically who later arrived in Athens for talks with his counter part Nikos Dendias and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Monday.
*Pomaks are Bulgarian-speaking Muslims living in NE Greece. For decades, Turkey has been claiming that they also belong to the “Turkish minority” in the area.