Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 7
By Rufiz Hafizoglu – Trend:
Recep Tayyip Erdogan has paid his first visit as Turkish President to Greece today. Before him, Turkish President Celal Bayar visited Athens in 1952.
In an interview with one of the Greek TV channels before his visit to Athens, Erdogan said Turkey proposes to amend the Treaty of Lausanne.
All agreements in the world should be updated over time, Erdogan said, adding the Treaty of Lausanne should be amended too.
"Making changes to the Treaty of Lausanne will serve not only Turkey’s interests, but will also benefit Greece," Erdogan said. “Turkey is ready to discuss the details of the Treaty of Lausanne with Greece in case of obtaining consent to making such changes."
Athens was concerned with Erdogan’s statement. During a meeting with Erdogan, Greek President Prokopios Pavlopoulos openly said that making any changes to the Treaty of Lausanne is out of the question.
President Pavlopoulos said there are no unclear points in the treaty, everything is clear and concrete.
It seemed that following the Greek president’s statement, the Turkish leader would close the topic, but Erdogan's answer was more than interesting.
Erdogan said there are many details in the Treaty of Lausanne, of which few people have an idea.
"The Muslims of Western Thrace still do not have the right to choose a mufti themselves and this testifies to the fact that the terms of the Treaty of Lausanne are not fulfilled," Erdogan said. “The inhabitants of Western Thrace are subject to ethnic discrimination. When I talk about changes in the Treaty of Lausanne, I mean all these aspects.”
In response to Erdogan's tough and loud statements, the Greek president said that as opposed to the Turkish leader, he does not have the authority to discuss and make decisions on such issues, as Greece, unlike Turkey, is a parliamentary republic.
Erdogan’s visit to Greece will be remembered not only because this is the first visit at the presidential level for the last 65 years, but because of his political polemics with President Pavlopoulos.
Rufiz Hafizoglu is the head of Trend Agency's Arabic news service, follow him on Twitter: @rhafizoglu