Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan now claims that Greece deprives Turkey of its Ottoman legacy, by refusing to open two mosques in Athens even though the Greek government is financing renovation of a building to create the country’s first official mosque while Turkey is intransigent on Christian churches.
According to the Greek news agency AMNA , speaking today at the parliamentary group of the Justice and Development Party, Erdogan said that the Theological School of Halki won’t reopen – reneging on his promise – unless Greece relents to his demands for mosques and to let the Turkish minority in northeastern Greece appoint its mufti, instead of the Greek government doing it.
“We have two mosques located in Athens which are Ottoman heritage. Muslims who visit Athens have no place to pray. We have told them so many times. The last ten years I have discussed it with all the prime ministers of Greece, but unfortunately they dish it out,” he complained.
“They had an orphanage in Büyükada and we have returned it immediately after the trial. And they have not even rebuilt it,” he said and stressed: “On the issue of members of the Holy Synod, I told (Patriarch) Bartholomew to bring priests from abroad in order to give them Turkish nationality, so as to form the Synod in accordance to the Treaty of Lausanne. By now we have given 17 nationalities.”
The building of the Büyükada orphanage was returned to the Ecumenical Patriarchate after condemning verdict of the European Court of Human Rights.
“Greece’s position on the issue is clear and unambiguous, consistent with the international law and has been repeatedly expressed,” said the Greek Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Evangelos Venizelos, answering a journalist’s question about Erdogan’s conditions for re-opening Halki.
According to an announcement of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Venizelos stressed that “any further debate on the matter will be wasteful.”