Papandreou Tours Thrace & Visits Muslim Minority

Papandreou Tours Thrace & Visits Muslim Minority

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Prime Minister George Papandreou arrived for a tour of the extreme northeastern province of Thrace on Friday.  He pledged to settle the problems faced by the local Muslim minority.
On Friday, he visited the village of Dimario near the Greek-Bulgarian borders, where he met with locals. This is the first time a Greek prime minister has visited the specific region.
The premier stressed that the government adheres to the principle of equality before the law, underlining that, “Red tape is the oppressor of Christians and Muslims alike”. He also stressed that the government is struggling against discrimination and “old perceptions”, regarding the minority.
The education provided by the minority schools was amongst the top issues raised by local residents.
The prime minister announced that no later than September, the special pedagogical academy (EPATh) for the Muslim minority school teachers will be included at Thessaloniki Aristotle University’s (AUTH) faculties.
Papandreou also announced that oral exams for a driver’s license will be available in the Turkish language as well, while local Citizen Service Centres (KEP) will be staffed with additional Turkish-speaking personnel.
Responding to requests by young people, the premier said the region’s internet access will also improve rapidly.
Regarding religious charitable foundations, so-called vakufs, the Greek premier stated that a solution will be found with their boards.  In reference to the all-important tobacco crops, he pointed out that they will have to be preserved and boosted, and considering that it is a monoculture of Basma-type tobacco.
The prime minister was accompanied by a local imam to the village’s mosque.
(source: ana-mpa)