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The Foreign Minister of Turkey sees Muslims from Thrace to Kastelorizo

07 March 2011 / 19:03:57  GRReporter
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The Foreign Minister of Turkey stressed that his country is interested in all areas where there are Muslim minorities or strong presence of Ottoman cultural heritage.

The two-day visit of Ahmet Davutoglu to Thrace and Central Macedonia raises the minority issues while at the same time "Ottoman identity" in the Balkans will be highlighted. The Foreign Minister of Turkey arrives with his wife in Athens on Tuesday. He will meet with the Greek Minister of Foreign affairs Dimitris Droutsas the same day and will travel to Alexandroupoli on Wednesday. He will continue his visit to Greece with the cities of Komotini, Xanthi, Kavala, and on Thursday he will visit the house of Kemal Ataturk in Thessaloniki, where the Turkish Consulate is currently housed.
 
During the meeting the Foreign Ministers of both countries will discuss the bilateral relations, the Cyprus issue and the shelf in the Aegean Sea as well as the riots in North Africa and the Middle East. The two ministers will also discuss the European – Turkish relations actually frozen for the Cyprus issue and the opposition of major European states against the full integration of Turkey into the EU. As for the shelf, Greece and Turkey could agree to establish it from Thrace to Kastelorizo, said Grigoris Delavekouras from the Greek Foreign Ministry.  

On the issue of Kastelorizo and its inclusion in the agreement that will dramatically affect the allocation of areas of influence of the two countries Davutolu said that "Turkey has grounded legal and political positions that are consistent with international law and jurisprudence of international tribunals including The Hague... We understand that Greece and Turkey are divided over sea areas in the eastern Mediterranean," said the Foreign Minister of Turkey in an interview with Kathimerini newspaper, adding that Turkey wants to solve all its differences with Greece as soon as possible.
 
If we track the statistics, we will see that there has been significant progress in the dialogue and cooperation between Greece and Turkey in economic and trade relations in recent years, Ahmet Davutoglu told the journalist Alexis Papahelas. The Minister stressed that the volume of trade amounted to only 870 million dollars in 2000, while in 2010 it rose three times, jumping up to three billion. Over the past decade direct investments in Greece have increased 106 times reaching 6.5 billion in 2010. "These figures show the positive attitude of our business community to the new environment created and how safe they feel that this will no change," he said.
 
Regarding Turkish ships sailing in Greek waters, the Foreign Minister Davtoglu expressed his disappointment that the media and certain circles attach different meanings to these transits. Military and commercial ships of Turkey and any other country have the freedom to sail in the Aegean Sea. This freedom applies to high seas and local waters too. As to local waters, the principle of free sailing is clear under international law and can not be interpreted according to the country. I should add that these sailings are not dangerous to Greece or any other country. So, if a Greek warship sails freely in Turkish waters, even if it is near the land, we will not react. On the contrary, we will welcome it at any port and will offer the crew a cup of coffee."

The Foreign Minister of Turkey said the issues that affect the Aegean Sea should be resolved by mutually respecting fundamental rights and legitimate interests of both countries. He acknowledged that this issue was ignored in the past years and stressed that it is in the agenda since last May when the two Prime Ministers of Greece and Turkey met.

The inspirer of the neo-osmanism dogma systematically works to establish the idea that the rights and interests of Turkey spread to all regions where there are Muslim minorities or strong presence of Ottoman cultural heritage. His visit to Thrace and Central Macedonia was made within this framework.

Choosing to visit Kavala is not accidental, since the city has a symbolic importance for the Ottoman culture as the birthplace of Ali Pasha, the founder of the Egyptian dynasty. Ahmet Davutoglu will stay at the famous luxury hotel Imaret which was built by Ali Pasha himself in 1817. Turkey’s interest beyond Thrace is associated with the request the old mosque Zindzirli in Serres to start functioning.
 
Minister Davutoglu will travel by car from Alexandroupoli to Komotini where he will visit the mosque Jenny and will be accepted at the Turkish Consulate for a meeting with the Consultative Committee of the Turks of Western Thrace, chaired by the PASOK deputy Ahmet Hadzhiosman.

During the Minister’s visit to Xanthi, he will meet with the unrecognized Mufti, but the visit of Minister Davutoglu was preceded by Tayyip Erdogan's speech in Dusseldorf who has already raised the issue of election of muftis in Greece and reminded the Prime Minister that he has forgotten his promise to introduce this practice.

Based on Ethnos and Kathimerini reports

Tags: NewsPoliticsTurkeyShelfThraceShipsFree sailingMuslimsMuftiMinorities
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