Ahmet Mete, the elected mufti of Xanthi in northern Greece, on Wednesday was sentenced to four months in prison due to usurping authority.
The implementation of the prison sentence was delayed. If Mete commits a crime in three years, the sentence will be implemented.
Erkan Azizoğlu, the imam of the nearby village of Glafki, was acquitted of the same charges.
Mete released a message on social media after the decision and said that he will file an appeal to the upper court.
Mete and Azizoğlu were convicted over an incident at the funeral ceremony of a conscript soldier in 2016, who was a member of the Muslim Turkish minority and lost his life in a swimming accident while on duty. Mete took over the prayer service from the state-appointed mufti of Xanthi.
Greek authorities had accused Mete and Azizoğlu of seizing an official position and of stopping the religious ceremony.
Greek courts had previously issued a similar ruling on a similar incident against the elected Mufti Mehmet Emin Ağa and his assistant Imam İbrahim Şerif, however, the European Court of Human Rights had ruled against the Greek court's decision and fined the Greek authorities.
Mete and Azizoğlu were each sentenced to seven months in prison by a court in Thessaloniki for disturbing a religious ceremony and usurping authority. They appealed the decision later.
İbrahim Şerif, who is the elected mufti of Komotini city and head of the Western Thrace Turkish Minority Advisory Board, had criticized Greek authorities' ongoing negative attitude in this regard.
Şerif, like Mete, was also convicted previously for usurping authority. He later appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, which made a decision in his favor and found Greece guilty.
Greece is home to a small Turkish community concentrated in Western Thrace where Xanthi and Komotini are located. Ankara and the community have long complained of mistreatment of Turks by authorities, especially in terms of religious freedoms.
In recent years, the Islamic heritage in Greece, including mosques, were vandalized by far-right groups or caught fire for unknown reasons. The Western Thrace region of Greece is home to a Muslim Turkish minority of around 150,000 people, where muftis have the jurisdiction to decide on family and inheritance matters of local Muslims.
The mufti election issue has been a chronic problem of the Muslim Turkish minority since 1991.
The election of muftis by Muslims in Greece was regulated in the 1913 Treaty of Athens between Greece and the Ottoman Empire and was later included in the Greek Act 2345/1920.
However, Greece annulled this law in 1991 and started appointing the muftis itself.
The majority of Muslim Turks in the cities of Komotini and Xanthi do not recognize the appointed muftis and elect their own instead, who are not recognized by the Greek state.
Ankara said the Greek government has not allowed Muslim foundations to elect their operating boards since 1967 and has levied huge taxes on those foundations' properties, effectively preventing the Turkish minority from using them as they please.
The Greek government classifies its Turkish population as "Greek Muslims." Greek authorities prohibit the use of the word "Turkish" in organization names and several minority groups have been closed down for using the term.
The 1923 Lausanne Treaty guarantees the religious freedoms of the Muslim minority in Greece.
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