17 Turkish candidates to participate in Greece's snap elections

Published 06.07.2019 00:23

During the Sunday's snap elections, 17 candidates from the Turkish minority of Western Thrace will reportedly participate in Sunday's snap elections. Greece's main opposition, the New Democracy (ND) party has two Turkish candidates in the cities of Rhodope (Rodop) and Xanthi (İskeçe) in Western Thrace region, while Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras's SYRIZA party lists two Turkish candidates in Rhodope and one in Xanthi.

Syriza's Rhodope and Xanthi lawmakers Ayhan Karayusuf and Hüseyin Zeybek have remained in the list of candidates, while Özgür Ferhat is the second Turkish in SYRIZA's list of candidates in Rhodope. Mustafa Mustafa, who was elected twice as a member of Syriza in Rhodope, was not a candidate again. Prior to the Sunday's election, the ND party failed to appoint Turkish parliamentarians in these two cities.

In the region of Evros, part of the region of East Macedonia and Thrace, where the Turkish Muslim population has decreased over time, no Turkish candidates were listed.

The Western Thrace region is home to a Muslim Turkish minority of around 150,000 and has been suffering from various policies of the Greek government for years, one of the most important of which is the issue of muftis. The election of muftis by Muslims in Greece was regulated in the 1913 Treaty of Athens between Greece and the Ottoman Empire and was confirmed in 1920. But in 1991, Greece annulled this law and started appointing muftis itself. The majority of Muslim Turks in Western Thrace do not recognize appointed muftis and instead elect their own, who are not recognized by the Greek state.

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