Europe

Greece: Newspaper owner, editor receive prison sentence

Court convicts them for criticizing appointments of Muftis in Western Thrace, Greece

Meryem Göktaş   | 08.06.2018
Greece: Newspaper owner, editor receive prison sentence

Ankara

By Mehmet Hatipoglu

KOMOTINI, Greece

The owner and editor-in-chief of the newspaper Millet received a 20-month prison sentence for criticizing the appointment of Muftis in Western Thrace, Greece.

Millet owner Cengiz Omer and editor-in-chief Feyzullah Hasankahya were sentenced in Western Thrace for allegedly insulting the Greek state-appointed muftis in Komotini (Gumulcine) and Xanthi (Iskece).

The appointed muftis Mehmet Emin Sinikoglu and Cemali Meco filed a lawsuit against Omer and Hasankahya stating that the newspaper published an article insulting the muftis.

Omer and Hasankahya, who objected to the decision of the Komotini court at the high court were released.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Hasankahya said that in Western Thrace the rights of the Muslim Turkish Minority were constantly violated by the Greek administration.

Hasankahya said that several other lawsuits had opened against the newspaper.

The Western Thrace region of Greece is home to a Muslim Turkish minority of around 150,000 people, where muftis have the jurisdiction to decide on family and inheritance matters of local Muslims.

The mufti election issue has been a chronic problem of the Muslim Turkish minority since 1991.

The election of muftis by Muslims in Greece was regulated in the 1913 Treaty of Athens between Greece and the Ottoman Empire and was later included in the Greek Act 2345/1920.

However, Greece annulled this law in 1991 and started appointing the muftis itself.

The majority of Muslim Turks in the cities of Komotini (Gumulcine) and Xanthi (Iskece) do not recognize the appointed muftis and elect their own instead, who are not recognized by the Greek state.

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