Çınar Association releases a statement on the law proposal regarding the mufti offices
Çınar Association has published a statement regarding the mufti law proposal with the signature of President Cengiz Ömer.
Condemning the anti-democratic practices of Greece toward the mufti office, Cengiz Ömer noted that the Muslim Turkish Minority of Western Thrace should not bow down to injustices in the future as they have done so far.
The statement released by the Çınar Association on Saturday, July 23 is as follows:
"THIS PROPOSAL IS AN ATTACK ON OUR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, IT AIMS TO DISPOSE
"While the Western Thrace Muslim Turkish Minority wants to use its right to elect its muftis according to bilateral agreements and International Law, Greece persistently continues its arbitrary and unlawful practices.
The government's new legal regulation on muftis has nothing to do with gaining the image and reputation of mufti offices and muftis, as claimed. We are being mocked by these claims. Will they gain prestige by ignoring the religious belief of a community, by cruelly confiscating its religious institutions, and by arbitrarily imposing all kinds of human rights and non-religious impositions there? Such cruelty is unprecedented in Europe. There may be pressures in different ways in Europe, but the system of pressure applied by Greece is unique. While doing this, it markets it as "democratic practices exemplary to the world". Although it oppresses a community, there are few states that are as successful as Greece in marketing it to the world as if it were a blessing.
THE STATE, NOT INTERFERING IN THE INTERNAL BUSINESS OF THE CHURCH, IS INTERFERING IN THE MÜFTULATES
It is noteworthy that Greece does not impose these unlawful and anti-democratic practices against the religious institutions of Western Thrace Turks on any religious community in the country, especially its own Orthodox Church. The reason for this is based on the grounds that the Turkish Minority and its institutions are seen as a "national problem" and must be controlled by the state.
IT IS AGAINST HUMAN RIGHTS, ISLAM, AND THE WILL OF THE TURKISH MINORITY
The statements of the Ministry regarding the aim of solving the mufti problem with legal regulation are a clear indication that the administration's distorted view towards the Turkish Minority will not be improved. Because the issues put forward as a solution are against human rights, Islam, and the demands and will of the Turkish Minority.
Greece cannot appoint Metropolitans who are hierarchically comparable to Muftis of the Greek Church. Likewise, the Archmetropolitans/Archbishops, who are the equivalent of the Chief Muftis, are not determined and appointed by the Greek government. The Greek state cannot in any way interfere with the internal functioning and hierarchical structure of the Greek Orthodox Church. The church strongly opposes this. In the past, governments that tried to do this were under the wrath of the Church and were overthrown.
METROPOLITES IN TURKEY NOT THE STATE, BUT THE PATRICIAN HOUSING
Likewise, the Istanbul Patriarchate, the center of the Eastern Orthodox Greek Church, which is the highest religious authority in Greece according to the constitution, is free in its internal affairs according to the Treaty of Lausanne. The Turkish state does not interfere with the religious affairs and hierarchical structure of the Patriarchate. According to the Treaty of Lausanne, the Metropolitans, who are the counterparts of the Muftis in Western Thrace, cannot appoint the ministry responsible for religious affairs in Turkey. If Turkey introduces a similar legal regulation that was presented to the Parliament in Greece, which can be described as a disrespectful intervention to the religion of Western Thrace Turks and an attack on their reputation, Greece and the entire "civilized" world would stand up. Unfortunately, when it comes to the Turks of Western Thrace, there is not much objection other than symbolic reactions.
WE ARE AGAINST AN INTERVENTION WITH RESPECT TO OUR RELIGION AND ASSISTANCE TO OUR REPUTATION
What is the information in the Greek media about "The said legislative proposal was prepared as a result of the comprehensive research of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, consultation with the clergy, cooperation with expert scientists, the current constitution, laws and international regulations, and consultation with the Thrace Development Commission"? It is debatable how obvious it is. In our opinion, they have nothing to do with reality. On the contrary, we are faced with a disrespectful intervention in our religion and an 'assassination' against our reputation. We are faced with propaganda aimed at manipulating unfair and cruel practices to control the institutions by ignoring the religious will of the Turkish Minority.
GREECE INTERVENES IN OUR RELIGIOUS WILL
I must state once again that Greece is openly interfering with the religion of the Turkish Minority. It makes these unfair and cruel laws to control our faith and religious institutions. The last regulation, like the others, was prepared with malicious intent and completely contrary to the Constitution, Lausanne, International Law, Islam, and our traditions. With the Turkish Minority, deputies who are the real representatives of the Minority, imams, and muftis who are currently working in mosques and elected by the minority, representatives of the foundation committee, and municipal and state councilors are strongly against this law and the arbitrary regulations of the administration.
We consider this regulation brought to the parliament, which targets the existence of the Turkish Minority, as an 'attack' against our religion and freedom of religion, and as a move aimed at completely discrediting the muftis. We are strongly against this and declare that we are ready to fight with all our strength against those who play on our reputation.
MUFTI OFFICES ARE NOT GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS
Religious authority and institutions belong to their believers. The religion of Islam belongs to Allah and concerns Muslims. But Greece pretends to say "Islam belongs to me" and wants to subordinate Muslims to the religion that the state sees fit, not God's. Because Greece wants to control the minority. It does this by reducing the Mufti to the state office. Mufti offices in Western Thrace are not government offices. They are private institutions with international status. It is entirely governed by the Minority and the state supervises only as much as it has the right and supports if necessary. We will never allow our mufti to be turned into a state directorate. Mufti offices are serious institutions. They are symbols of our religious autonomy. Our Mufti offices are never state-affiliated fire departments, tax offices, or waterworks offices. Muftis are not civil servants who will take orders from their Christian superiors in religious matters by being reduced to a status like firefighters.
MUFTIS ARE APPOINTED IN TURKEY, HOWEVER...
Greece says that muftis are appointed in Turkey as well. Yes, but Turkey is an Islamic country and those who appoint muftis are Muslims. In Greece, on the other hand, it is the Christian state with a theocratic structure that appoints or wants to decide how it should be. The state who has nothing to do with Islam has no right to interfere in the internal affairs of Muslims. Intentionally wrong comparisons are made. We would also like to remind you that. The status of muftis in Western Thrace is determined according to Lausanne, not Turkish law. The counterparts of the Muftis in Western Thrace are the Metropolitans of the Greek Patriarchate in Istanbul. The Turkish state cannot appoint the Metropolitans there. It directly beats the Patriarchate. We will never let the truth be distorted. The gilded news leaked to the press, perception operations and propaganda have never and will never work in this society. Just as the Patriarchate determines the Metropolitans in Turkey, the Turkish Minority should determine the Muftis in Western Thrace.
Despite all the impositions, the Turkish Minority chooses its muftis in accordance with international agreements and law. Greece also tries to deceive itself and the world with a few civil servants that it pays. 33 civil servants, who did not have any representative title, were to determine the mufti candidates. Who do they represent?
LAWS MUST FOLLOW LEGAL BASIS
Western Thrace Turks are a community that respects the Greek constitution and international law, and has the status of an official minority of Turkish origin, who gave their lives for their state. Anyone who is a Greek citizen must of course respect and obey the law. Greek citizens who are members of the Turkish Minority do the same. However, according to the rules of international law, international agreements cannot be violated by law and the laws prepared by the states are considered invalid if they are not based on legal grounds.
As a result, laws that are contrary to the Treaty of Lausanne, international law, and aim to destroy a community are deemed invalid in our opinion and should not be implemented.
We openly state that: We have never bowed down to these impositions, we will not, We are against it.
Each citizen individually and the Turkish Minority as a whole must fight against the so-called laws that are not based on legal foundations and work for the establishment of real law and justice in the country. We are ready to work and to fight!