Libération: Democracy is eroding in Greece
The official visit of Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to France and the statements he made during his official visit brought to the forefront of the French press debates as regards the state of democracy in Greece.
In its 12 September 2022 issue, the French newspaper Libération indicated in interviews realised with experts that the government has moved to the right, assessing the wiretapping scandal that broke out in Greece.
In an interview with University of Toulouse researcher Nikos Smyrnaios, the newspaper quoted Smyrnaios as saying that the wiretapping scandal is only the first step in the country’s shift to the far-right.
Libération’s Athens Correspondent Fabien Perrier’s interview with populism expert Giorgos Katsambekis also indicated that liberal democracy is eroding in Greece.
İn a written statement the President of the Federation of Western Thrace Turks in Europe reacted to the publication, underlined the quality of democracy in Greece by saying “Although there was a restoration of democracy in 1974 following the Colonels’ Junta in 1967, democracy was suspended for the Turkish community in Western Thrace, and it is still suspended.”
ABTTF’s statement is as follow:
“In the news and interviews carried to the pages of Libération at the occasion of the visit of Mitsotakis to France, it is noted that the country’s government has shifted to the right and that as a result of this, democracy in the country has been eroding.
Under the conditions where the principles of the rule of law are violated, if academia, intelligentsia and civil society in our country have become reluctant to convey the facts in the country, we need to question the state of democracy in our country.
Although there was a restoration of democracy in 1974 following the Colonels’ Junta in 1967, democracy was suspended for the Turkish community in Western Thrace and it is still suspended.
Indeed, our country has not recognised our Turkish identity for years by stating that the Minority is not Turkish but Muslim.
On the other hand, as we have seen in the statement made following the election of the mufti in Xanthi, our country continues to claim that its policy towards the Turkish community in Western Thrace is modern and in accordance with international law.
However, our country pursues its policy which ignores our existence and our issues, and it has said many times that there is no such issue as the mufti issue.
On the other hand, under the name of modernisation of the mufti offices, it took a further step beyond the Presidential Decree in 2019 with the new law, and transformed our mufti offices, which should enjoy an autonomous status, into state offices and defined the muftis that are appointed as being state officials at the level of general directors.
If there is no issue in Western Thrace, then why did thousands of Turks in Xanthi elect their new Mufti on Friday 9 September instead of accepting the state-appointed mufti?
Since we enjoy our special rights as a minority, we have the same rights as all Greek citizens equally; Why, then, can ethnic Armenian Greek citizens in Komotini establish their own associations but we Turks cannot?
Unfortunately, our country is not a democratic state under the rule of law! Both the EU and the UN know that this is the case.
Indeed, what comes to light with the words of the rulers of our country shows the gap between what is said and what is true”, said Halit Habip Oğlu, President of the Federation of Western Thrace Turks in Europe (ABTTF).