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Greece – MFA – Foreign Ministry spokesman’s reply to an announcement from the Turkish Foreign Ministry regarding the CoE Parliamentary Assembly’s resolution on the Hunault Report February 1, 2010

Posted by Yilan in Turkey, Yunanistan.
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Foreign Ministry spokesman Gregory Delavekouras issued the following response to a journalist’s question on yesterday’s announcement no. 4 from the Turkish Foreign Ministry, which refers to Resolution 1704 from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) regarding the Report of French parliamentarian Michel Hunault on “Freedom of religion and other human rights for non-Muslim minorities in Turkey and for the Muslim minority in Thrace (Eastern Greece)”, and which was adopted almost unanimously (18 votes against, of which 11 came from Turkish representatives to the PACE:

“Resolution 1704 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the report that is an intrinsic part of it, which were adopted nearly unanimously on 27 January 2010, concerns Greece’s Muslim minority in Thrace, and Turkey’s non-Muslim minorities. Greece respects the work of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and within the framework of commitments it has already undertaken based on international agreements, Greece will bear seriously in mind Resolution 1704 and the report that accompanies it

The resolution is of particular significance as it relates to the Ecumenical Patriarchate as well as the Greek minority and its institutions in Turkey, pointing up longstanding issues that have also long been among the European Union’s demands upon Turkey in the context of the latter’s accession course.

It is also of particular importance because it sets down all of Greece’s positive measures in favor of its citizens who are members of the Muslim minority, and it is with these measures as a point of departure that the Resolution makes recommendations to Greece.

The announcement from the Turkish Foreign Ministry and the fact that the Turkish representatives to the PACE were among the few who voted against Resolution 1704 are indicative of the perceptions that continue to prevail in Turkey. It is to be noted that none of the amendments put forward was accepted. Unfortunately – despite statements of intention and political declarations – protection of minorities is still being sought in Turkey.

The two texts set down and confirm positions that Greece espouses and proclaims. In the 21st century, the invoking of the principle of reciprocity with regard to human rights is anachronistic. Human rights cannot be a matter for negotiation. The members of minorities are citizens of their countries, and protection of their rights is the exclusive responsibility of the state, of which they too are a part. We have stressed this obvious truth and we continue to stress it to Turkey. It is indicative that Turkey’s tendency to intervene with regard to the citizens of another country was criticized by the members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.”

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