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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 16-08-17

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From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Alt. FM Xydakis defends President's comments on Pontic Greeks

  • [01] Alt. FM Xydakis defends President's comments on Pontic Greeks

    Alternate Minister for European Affairs Nikos Xydakis defended President Prokopis Pavlopoulos' recent statements on Pontic Greeks on Wednesday and predicted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will toughen his policy towards minorities in the country, during an appearance on SKAI TV.

    Xydakis was referring to a recent ban on the performing of mass at Sumela Monastery in Trabzon, the decision of Turkish authorities to allow readings of the Quran in Aghia Sofia in Istanbul and the change of stance towards the Kurds.

    On Tuesday, Pavlopoulos said Turkey must apologise for the genocide of Pontic Greeks and slammed the arbitrary decision of Turkish authorities not to allow the mass at Sumela Monastery this year. In response, Turkey's foreign ministry said these statements have no historical or legal consistency.

    Xydakis said Turkey has consistently and continuously refused to acknowledge the genocide and is even outraged, when the issue of either the Armenian or the Pontic genocide is raised, creating diplomatic tensions. "We rightly pointing out these issues which have been historically recorded," he said.

    He said Pavlopoulos was right to respond to the unusual, but explainable ban on mass, which is part of Erdogan's overall plan for the Islamisation of the regime and a worrisome trend, because it violates religious freedoms and jeopardizes good neighbourly relations. Xydakis also noted that the political and diplomatic channels of communication exist and that the two countries agree on some issues and disagree on others.

    Asked about the eight Turkish soldiers who have requested political asylum, the minister said the issue is in the hands of judicial authorities who will decide on their extradition and noted the country will follow EU and international law.

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