Turkey, Politics, Europe

'Greece is only country that threatens Mediterranean security'

Turkey's major party leader says Greece violates Treaty of Lausanne by arming islands in eastern Aegean Sea

Emin Avundukluoglu   | 20.04.2021
'Greece is only country that threatens Mediterranean security'


Greece is the only country that threatens the security of the Mediterranean, Turkey's Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader said on Tuesday.

"Greece is the only country that threatens the security of the Mediterranean. Greece, which armed the 12 Islands [in the eastern Aegean Sea] with weapons and soldiers whose non-military status is guaranteed by treaties, is both guilty and a coward," Devlet Bahceli told his party's parliamentary group.

Bahceli also raised the issue of 150,000 people of Turkish descent who live in Western Thrace, saying that they were deprived of choosing their own chief mufti.

"The Treaty of Lausanne is violated...our cognates are never alone, never helpless, never ownerless," Bahceli said.

"It seems that Greece has not learned any lessons from history," he added.

The election of muftis is regulated by the 1913 Treaty of Athens, a Greek-Ottoman pact that was implemented by Athens in 1920.

But in 1991, in violation of international law, Greece annulled its law regarding the treaty and unlawfully started to appoint muftis.

The muftis appointed by Greece have since usurped local Muslims' right of jurisdiction on family and inheritance matters.

The majority of Muslim Turks in Western Thrace do not recognize muftis appointed by Greece and instead rightfully elect their muftis.

Greece, however, has refused to recognize elected muftis since 1991 and authorities have placed some clerics on trial.

The MHP leader said that his party has still worked on a new constitution for Turkey.

"In the near future, our work [on the new constitution] will come to an end," Bahceli said.

"With the common will of the People's Alliance, a constitution preparation process that deserves the glory, fame, quality, dignity, and existence of our nation will hopefully be completed," he added.

The MHP cooperates with the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party under the People's Alliance, formed ahead of the June 2018 general elections.

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