By Fatih Hafiz Mehmet
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reiterated Turkey's request for the extradition of putschist Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) members from Greece.
"I have a call to Greek justice: justice delayed is justice denied," Erdogan told a joint news conference with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens.
Erdogan said there was no torture in Turkey and the extradition of these putschists to Turkey was possible.
He added it was very important that the FETO militants who targeted Turkish democracy on July 15 last year and martyred 250 people, to face justice.
Erdogan said Greece has also suffered from terrorism from groups like the November 17 terrorist organization.
The November 17 terror group was active in Greece between 1975 and 2002. It is considered responsible for the assassination of 23 people in 103 attacks, namely on U.S., British, Turkish and Greek nationals.
Greek courts earlier this year refused to extradite eight asylum-seeking ex-soldiers to Turkey.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader
Turkey also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.
Muftis in Western Thrace
Erdogan said they discussed issues pertaining to the Muslim-Turkish minority of Western Thrace.
"We see that the chief mufti there is appointed rather than elected. What does the Lausanne [Treaty] say? Lausanne says 'election'. It is also valid for Turkey. In Turkey, the [Greek Orthodox] patriarch [is elected]," Erdogan said.
He defined the mufti issue as "a very serious open wound" and requested that Tsipras solve the issue.
The mufti election has been a chronic issue for Greece’s 150,000-strong Muslim Turkish minority -- concentrated in the Western Thrace region -- since 1991.
The election of muftis by Muslims in Greece was covered by the 1913 Treaty of Athens between Greece and the Ottoman Empire and was later incorporated into Greek law in 1920, near the dawn of the Turkish Republic.
The 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, signed between 11 countries including Greece and Turkey, also guarantees the religious freedoms of the Muslim minority in Greece.
However, Greece annulled the stipulation in 1991 and started appointing the muftis itself.
'Mosque problem in Athens'
Erdogan said the GDP per capita in Greece was 15,000 euros (about
"The gap is horrific," he said.
Erdogan also added that Turkey does not have any problem with the territorial integrity of Greece.
Referring to the lack of a mosque in Athens, he said: "There is a mosque problem in Athens. But in my country, in Turkey, we did not experience any problem with the churches for Christians."
Athens is the only European capital that has no mosque, though it is expected that the first official mosque will be built in the near future.
Tsipras said the update of the Lausanne Treaty is not possible.
"I invite you to open a new page in Greek-Turkish relations," Tsipras said.
He said this new page will not be based on mutual insecurity and agitations but on bridges of friendship.
Tsipras also commented on U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement of his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Wednesday.
Tsipras said the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital by the U.S. did not serve peace.