ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that some details in the Treaty of Lausanne which established Turkey’s borders with its neighbours were unclear and that a lasting solution to issues in the Aegean and Cyprus was needed.
Speaking alongside Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos in Athens during the first visit by a Turkish president to Greece in 65 years, Erdogan said protecting the rights of ethnic Turks within Greece’s borders was a priority for Turkey.
He said Muslims in the Greek border region of Western Thrace were not able to choose their own chief mufti, while Christian communities in Turkey enjoyed greater freedom to choose their patriarchs, suggesting the 1923 Lausanne treaty was not being applied fairly.
“How can we say Lausanne is in effect? Then Lausanne is not in effect. We need to prove Lausanne’s applicability by doing this.”
In a tense back and forth between the two leaders, Erdogan also said Greece could not have entered the NATO without Turkey’s support.
Reporting by Daren Butler and Ali Kucukgocmen in Istanbul; Writing by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Dominic Evans