10 January, 2007
The Greek foreign ministry reacted sharply on Tuesday to Turkish statements on Greece's Moslem minority, saying that "Greece is proud of her European policy on minorities which continuously develops and constitutes an example to imitate."
Foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos, responding to statements made by Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said: "The members of the Moslem minority of Thrace are Greek citizens and citizens of Europe who fully enjoy civil equality and equality before the law. Greece is proud of her European policy on minorities which continuously develops and constitutes an example to imitate."
"It is self-evident that the rights and the improvement of the quality of life of Greek Moslem citizens, of Turkish, Pomac and Gypsy origin are not an issue of negotiation," Koumoutsakos concluded.
Gul had stated that Turkey was "ready to negotiate with Greece the minority issue," claiming that "one of the most important issues in our contacts with the Greek leadership is the issue of the minority in Western Thrace." Gul was speaking during an off the agenda debate in the Turkish National Assembly. Among other things, Gul claimed that Greece "does not recognize equal rights of education to the minority."
Source: Athens News Agency