The leader of the Muslim minority party in Thrace complained that the Greek State does not consult with them on issues that concern them in an interview with Turkey’s Anadolu Agency.
The Friendship, Equality and Peace Party (KIEF) often claims that the Muslim minority is neglected. At the same time, Turkey silently tries to claim that the Muslims of Western Thrace are a Turkish minority, when in fact they are Greek citizens.
Furthermore, Turkish authorities in recent years often refer to Greek Muslims of Thrace as a Turkish minority suppressed by the Greek State. In a December 2017 visit to Thrace, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has addressed the Thrace Muslims as his “compatriots”.
Case in point the recent European Parliament elections where KIEF came first in the Xanthi and Rodopi prefectures, areas with a heavy Muslim population that originated after the 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey.
Party leader Cigdem Asafoglu told the Turkish news agency that the Greek government did not accept the KIEF’s offer to act as a mediator with the minority. “If we were consulted, maybe we could have met at a common ground,” she said.
Muftis in Thrace have the authority to decide on inheritance and family matters within the Muslim community. All other legal cases are decided by Greek law.
Asafoglu said KIEF is in no way a threat to Greece. “They tell us ‘if you are a Turk, go to Turkey’ and I respond to them each time with the same answer: No, I will not, because this place belongs to me as much as it belongs to you,” she said.