Turkey criticizes Greece for convicting Muslim clerics

Turkey criticizes Greece for convicting Muslim clerics

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag on Thursday slammed Greece over the recent conviction of two Muslim clerics, Anadolu agency reports.

The elected mufti of the city of Xanthi (Iskece) in northern Greece, Ahmet Mete and the imam of the nearby village of Glafki (Gokcepinar), Erkan Azizoglu were sentenced to seven months in prison by a court in Thessaloniki on Monday for disturbing a religious ceremony and usurping authority.

Mete and Azizoglu were convicted over an incident at the funeral ceremony of a conscript soldier last year, who was a member of the Muslim Turkish minority and lost his life in a swimming accident while on duty.

Mete took over the prayer service from the state-appointed mufti of Xanthi.

Speaking at an event in Istanbul, Bekir Bozdag slammed Greece for not letting a Muslim be buried in accordance with his religious beliefs, and by a mufti elected by the local community instead of one appointed by the state.

He said this was against the Lausanne Treaty. "Where is freedom of religion and conscience?" he asked.