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Gov’t remains idle to Turkey-Albania provocations

Albanian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister referred to a “Cham issue” – Turkey will allow Koran readings in Hagia Sophia

The Greek foreign ministry remains idle to the provocations of Turkey and Albania. Turkish authorities announced that the country will allow Koran readings in Hagia Sophia, while Albania referred to a “Cham issue”, despite warnings from the Greek foreign ministry that the issue “does not exist” for Athens, while Greeks in northern Epirus see their properties being taken away by Albanians who hold dubious property titles.

The foreign ministry responded to the decision of Turkey to allow Koran readings in Hagia Sophia turning the monument into a mosque, as main opposition New Democracy criticized, with leaked statements saying that such actions “are anachronistic and incomprehensible and show disrespect towards religious monuments that are symbols of world cultural heritage”.

Moreover, the foreign ministry issued an announcement that criticized references made by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and Foreign Minister Dimir Bushati regarding a “Cham issue” that Greece considers firmly closed, ahead of a visit by Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias to Tirana.

“Albania needs to realize that its European course depends on the faithful implementation of the European Union’s five principles, among which is respect for justice and rule of law. This presupposes that it will respect court rulings, especially when they concern war crimes, and, instead of raising non-existent issues, implement the prerequisites and its commitments with regard to protection of the rights of the indigenous Greek National Minority,” the announcement said.

It also urged “seriousness” and “respect for the accurate facts of history” and “a vision for relations based on building…a future that ensures substantial progress in bilateral relations and contributes to security and stability in the wider region.”

Foreign ministry sources said a few weeks earlier that the Chams, who had collaborated with Axis forces during the German occupation of Greece, had then departed from Epirus on their own initiative, permanently and as a group, following the retreating enemy forces.

The Greek government, though, has not yet responded to the seizure of the properties of the Greeks of Northern Epirus. The issue was brought to Parliament by Nikitas Kaklamanis who said that “Albanian citizens holding dubious property titles appear in Finiki, Dropoli, Agioi Saranda, Delvino and Argyrokastro and have already illegally taken large portion of land.”