Greece enacts mufti law notwithstanding Turkish minority

Western Thrace
Fri, 5 Aug 2022 22:59 GMT
The new law on the mufti offices was drawn up unilaterally without consultation with the Western Thrace Turkish minority.
Greece enacts mufti law notwithstanding Turkish minority

The law, which has been criticized for trying to transform the Mufti institution into an ordinary state office, draws criticism because it was prepared in a unilateral way without consultation with the Western Thrace Turkish minority.

While the new mufti office law, passed in the Greek Parliament within the framework of the bag law, was prepared without consultation with the Western Thrace Turkish minority, it was also criticized on the grounds that it could not meet the demands of the minority for the right to elect their own mufti.

The new mufti law, which was presented as a draft by the government on July 22 and entered into force on August 2, draws attention with its aspects that do not take into account the views of the Turkish minority, although it directly concerns the Turkish minority.

The bill, which has been criticized for treating the minority's freedom of religion with an authoritarian approach, is interpreted as "the government has no intention of solving the problem".

It is pointed out that Athens, which does not fulfill its international obligations that guarantee the rights of the Turkish minority in Greece, especially the Treaty of Lausanne, continues to violate religious rights and freedoms, and is trying to transform the mufti institution into a public office under the Greek state.

Passed by omnibus

The law has been criticized for its method and timing, as well as its lack of consultation with the minority. Because, the draft of the law on a subject that concerns fundamental religious rights and freedoms for the Turkish minority, and the fact that it was presented to the parliament immediately after the death of the late Xanthi Elected Mufti Ahmet Mete, are protesting.

Greece, which does not recognize the elected muftis in Western Thrace and appoints the persons responsible for the conduct of religious affairs in the region, does not give up this stance with this new law, and also makes the muftis a bureaucrat under the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs. By electing a mufti, Greece, which will authorize a committee determined by the ministry, shows that with this law, it has not abandoned its stance against international agreements.

Aims to turn it into a government office

Thus, the Greek government, which treats the muftis as an ordinary state structure, draws the reaction of the Western Thrace Turkish minority.

In its statement on the subject, the Western Thrace Turkish Minority Advisory Board emphasizes that their will was not taken into account in the preparation of the said law, and draws attention to the fact that the Lausanne Treaty, which guarantees the religious autonomy of the Greek government, is ignored.

Pointing to the current government's stance, which, like previous governments, is far from approaching the problems of the Turkish minority in a constructive way, "We condemn in the strongest terms this anti-democratic and anti-human rights approach." the board said.

"Unacceptable"

The Elected Mufti Office of Xanthi emphasizes that the said legal arrangement is "unacceptable" and underlines that the minority's right to elect their own mufti, which is guaranteed by international agreements, can be usurped once again.

The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on the other hand, supports the statements made by the representatives of the Western Thrace Turkish minority and states that Greece is trying to transform the mufti institution into a structure under the control of the Greek state.

Reminding that Article 40 of the Lausanne Peace Treaty grants the Western Thrace Turkish Minority the right to establish, manage and control their own religious, educational, and charitable-social organizations, the Ministry said that Greece's violation of this right, contrary to its contractual obligations, has been denied by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in the past.

In response to Türkiye's calls, the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs claims that with this law, "a modern and harmonious framework has been established for muftis", and that the minority "benefits from everything a democratic state provides, without exception, like every citizen in Greece".

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