Ankara, Turkey – Turkey slammed a “racist threat message” Saturday in northeastern Greece written on an elevator of an apartment building that is the residence of Mufti Ahmet Mete of Xanthi.
“This incident once again revealed the intolerance of racist and extremist groups in Greece towards the existence of the Turkish Minority in Western Thrace and their representatives,” said Turkey’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said.
“We expect the Greek state to enlighten the heinous incident and bring its perpetrators to justice by carrying out an investigation with due seriousness and sensitivity,” he added.
Separately, Turkey’s Parliament Speaker Mustafa Sentop also denounced the attack.
“I condemn the attack on the residence of Mr. Ahmet Mete, the Mufti of Xanthi in Western Thrace. I call the attention of those who undertake the responsibility of protecting the rights of the Turkish minority. Hope the EU also recalls the notion of human rights when the victim of the attack is a Muslim as well,” said Sentop.
Xanthi (Iskece) is part of Greece’s Western Thrace region, which has a population of 150,000 Muslim Turks dating centuries.
The election of muftis, or Islamic clerics, by Muslims in Greece is regulated by the 1913 Treaty of Athens, a Greek-Ottoman Empire pact which was implemented by Athens in 1920.
But in 1991, in violation of international law, Greece annulled its law regarding the 1913 treaty and unlawfully started to appoint the muftis itself.
The muftis appointed by the Greek state 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 the Greek state and instead rightfully elect their muftis.
However, since 1991 the Greek state has refused to recognize elected muftis, and authorities have even put clerics on trial.