Erdogan: Lausanne Treaty needs to be revised for Turks in Greece

Erdogan: Lausanne Treaty needs to be revised for Turks in Greece

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Athens on Thursday, marking the first official visit by a Turkish head of state to Greece in 65 years. Speaking during televised talks with his Greek counterpart Prokopis Pavlopoulos, Erdogan expressed hope that his visit will mark a new era in Turkish-Greek relations, Daily Sabah reports.

In his speech, Erdogan reiterated his call to revise the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923, citing the conditions of ethnic Turks living in Greece's West Thrace region. "Muslims in [Greece's] Western Thrace have not even been allowed to choose their own mufti from their community; efforts to appoint a mufti are ongoing, but this is not the case for the Patriarchate in Turkey," he said. "You cannot find any discrimination against Turkish citizens of Greek origin in Turkey. However, in the Western Thrace, even writing the word 'Turkish' is not allowed."

Noting that the average income of Turks in the Western Thrace is $2,200, Erdogan said: "Steps for investment and economic development have not been taken, for this reason the Lausanne Treaty should be updated."

Pavlopoulos insisted, however, that the treaty was in need "neither of revision nor of updating."