Greek Justice Minister Withdraws Amendment that would Recognize “Turkish Minority”

Greece’s Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis, was obliged to withdraw a proposed amendment that would recognize the “Turkish Union of Xanthi” organization, after fierce criticism from the opposition and junior coalition partner, ANEL.

New Democracy, the Democratic Coalition, the Centrists Union, and even junior coalition party Independent Greeks (ANEL), opposed the controversial amendment as irredentist, and dangerous. The amendment challenges a policy that was established in 1986, and was followed by all Greek governments since then. The policy stated that the Greek ethnicity of Western Thrace Muslim Greeks, should not be challenged.

For years, Turkey has been trying to present the Greek Muslim population living in the general Thrace region, and particularly in the city of Xanthi, as a “Turkish minority”.

Main opposition New Democracy, Democratic Coalition (PASOK-DIMAR) and the Centrists Union, had previously announced that they would vote against the proposal, when tabled in the House.

Government partner ANEL and party leader Panos Kammenos, had also expressed their opposition to the amendment and stated that they would vote against it.

Deputy House Speaker and ANEL MP Dimitris Kammenos, stated that voting for the amendment would be tantamount to approving the recent resolution of the Islamic Conference, referring to the existence of a “Turkish minority”, in Greece, and “calling on our country to recognize “Turkish clubs” operating in our country.”

“We should not adopt, as a Greek Parliament, the irredentist and dangerous terminology of the Islamic Conference that poses a “Turkish minority” issue not only in Thrace, but also in the Dodecanese, falsifying the Treaty of Lausanne,” Kammenos said.