Deputy Prime Minister Hakan Çavuşoğlu said Turkey will continue to back the Turkish minority in Greece and other countries. Çavuşoğlu was in Greece from Nov.1 to Nov. 3 and met with Greek Deputy Prime Minister Yannis Dragasakis and the Greek foreign and education ministers in Athens. After his meetings in Athens, Çavuşoğlu visited the Turkish minority in Western Thrace and spoke to the press. He said that Turkey will continue to support the Turkish minority in Greece. "Turkey always stands by its minority [elsewhere] and continues to do. Turkey did not and will not leave you alone," he said. "Turkey, as the homeland of the Turkish minority, will decisively continue to do our part, as has been the case, so the Turkish minority can exercise its minority rights and live in equal conditions in Greece," he said.
Citing that Turkey will also take steps to protect the rights of the Greek minority in Istanbul, Çavuşoğlu said that the two countries should take mutual, solid steps to end the suffering of minorities in both countries.
Underlining the importance of cooperation between Turkey and Greece, Çavuşoğlu said that Turkey and Greece should cooperate on several issues. "As a [Turkish] minister born in Greece, we will take advantage of this in an effort to improve neighborhood relations between the countries," he said, adding that Turkey and Greece can resolve their issues through communication. "I believe that Turkey and Greece, which are located in the same region, could gain ground in the context of the win-win of mutual cooperation," Çavuşoğlu said, adding that the countries should seize the opportunity to work together.
He said that there are people in Greece who want to learn Turkish and suggested the Yunus Emre Institute organize Turkish courses if Athens would allow Ankara to open a branch of the institute in Greece. "In the case that Athens allows it, we could open a branch and start teaching Turkish to those who are interested in it," he said. Çavuşoğlu added that the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) and the General Directorate of Foundations and Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB) should play a role in Greece.
Touching on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's possible visit to Greece, Çavuşoğlu said that it could further increase ties between the two countries. "After 52 years, a Turkish president may visit Greece, which means something special for both countries. … The steps to be taken in economy and tourism as well as cooperation in energy will be on the agenda," he said.
On Nov. 3, Çavuşoğlu visited Komotini as part of his visit to Western Thrace. Speaking to the Turkish minority there, he said Turkey has taken all the necessary steps to allow the Turkish minority to exercise its minority rights. "Do not be sad or anguished because the Republic of Turkey is on your side," he said. Çavuşoğlu also added that Ankara and Greece have tackled issues regarding minorities and that Ankara has taken steps regarding foundations for and education of the Turkish minority in Greece.
Çavuşoğlu was born in 1972 in Deilina, a village near the city of Komotini, where many of his relatives still live. He became one of the deputy prime ministers in a major Cabinet reshuffle in July.
Meanwhile, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said last week that Erdoğan is scheduled to visit Athens before the end of the year. Erdoğan's trip is seen as historic, and will the first time in 65 years that a Turkish president has visited Greece. The last such time was in 1952 by then President Celal Bayar. Western Thrace in Greece is home to around 150,000 people of Turkish descent.
Please click to read our informative text prepared pursuant to the Law on the Protection of Personal Data No. 6698 and to get information about the cookies used on our website in accordance with the relevant legislation.
6698 sayılı Kişisel Verilerin Korunması Kanunu uyarınca hazırlanmış aydınlatma metnimizi okumak ve sitemizde ilgili mevzuata uygun olarak kullanılan çerezlerle ilgili bilgi almak için lütfen tıklayınız.