12 July 2003

Greece as an ethnic state

Again, lest it appear that I am singling out Israel's citizenship policy, other states in the region have similar policies. For example, by the Treaty of Lausanne ethnic Turks in western Thrace were permitted to remain in Greece as were Constantinopolitan Greeks allowed to remain in Istanbul. Yet Greek policies towards its Turkish minority have been far from exemplary, as indicated in this report by Human Rights Watch: The Turks of Western Thrace. Furthermore, because it is assumed that to be Greek entails membership in the Orthodox Church of Greece, members of minority religious groups are often viewed as potential fifth-columnists.

Some years ago evangelist Costas Makris, a Greek evangelical, was prosecuted under Greece's anti-proselytism law. This was publicized in certain christian circles, but it was not well known elsewhere.

The ethnically-based state is far from dead, although membership in the European Union is forcing some states to change their citizenship laws to recognize a territorial concept of citizenship.

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