Halit Habip Oğlu: “It is targeted with the recent presidential decree that mufti offices are turned into state institutions, and the religious autonomy guaranteed by international treaties of the Turkish community in Western Thrace is being completely abolished”
The draft presidential decree, which foresees restructuring of mufti offices with autonomous structure in Western Thrace, Greece and bringing in a new working system, has been disclosed. The draft decree disclosed on 28 August 2018 involves arrangements regarding the implementation of the law adopted in January 2018 on mufti offices which grants the persons belonging to the Turkish community in Western Thrace the right to make a choice between the Greek courts and mufti offices in the field of family and inheritance law. The draft decree prepared together by the General Secretariat on Religious Affairs and the General Secretariat on Human Rights and Transparency has the headings “Procedural Law Regulations related to the Mandates of the Mufti, Establishment of Administrative Unit, Organization and Working Procedures in Mufti Offices related to the Mandates of the Mufti”.
“With the law adopted in January 2018, Greece has first made the sharia mandates of the muftis in the field of inheritance, marriage and divorce regarding the persons belonging to the Turkish community in Western Thrace preferential and limited the mandates of the muftis. And now, as it was in the process of preparation of the law on mufti offices, a presidential decree is issued without having any consultation with the Turkish community in Western Thrace in advance, and the law in subject is being enforced. With the concerning decree, mufti offices with autonomous structure belonging to the Turkish community are directly affiliated to the state and turned into state institutions. And through this, it is aimed that the religious autonomy guaranteed by international treaties of the Turkish community in Western Thrace is being completely abolished. As the Western Thrace Turkish community, it is impossible for us to accept this decree which disregards the international law. For withdrawal of the decree and continuation of the autonomous structure of our mufti offices, we will continue our struggle within the framework of democracy and law,” stated Halit Habip Oğlu, President of Federation of Western Thrace Turks in Europe.