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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-03-12

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Vakufs discussed in Ankara

  • [01] Vakufs discussed in Ankara

    A foreign ministry spokesman on Wednesday clarified that last Saturday's talks in Ankara between Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and her Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan, among others, briefly touched on recent legislation in Turkey concerning charitable foundations -- the so-called vakufs-- as well as religious minorities' foundations and related properties.

    Spokesman George Koumoutsakos made the statement when queried by reporters at his regular press briefing over Babacan's reference, after the talks on Saturday, that the discussion had touched on the issue of "minorities".

    The spokesman said the talks are part of Athens' volition to exhaust all opportunities for discussion with Ankara so that bilateral relations continue to improve.

    Koumoutsakos reminded that there is no structured dialogue, bilateral committees or any other mechanism to discuss "minority issues", while he reiterated that commitments assumed by the Turkish government regarding human and minority rights -- as part of its European Union course -- are not linked to Greece's policy vis-à-vis the Muslim minority in Thrace.

    The issue of charitable foundations and minority rights in Turkey has heightened sensitivity for Greece due to the fact that the once robust ethnic Greek community of Istanbul and on the northeastern Aegean islands of Imvros and Tenedos has been transformed into a tiny ethnic Greek and Eastern Orthodox presence today.

    Caption: ANA-MPA/EPA file photo of Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis (L) and Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan in Ankara.

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