No Turkish Minority individual will forget the disgusting attitude of the Greek media when the coronavirus broke out in Greece in May last year.
Cengiz Ömer | Journalist-Editor in Chief of Millet Newspaper
Translated by Salih Canbaz
In this country, anti-Turkish and anti-Islamic politics and media have always looked for an opportunity to attack non-Orthodox and non-Greeks in an exclusionary, contemptuous, discriminatory and provocative manner. Even the most natural condition such as illness has made use of its dirty ambitions.
In the first wave of the coronavirus, the virus spread in many parts of the country and peaople began to die, so quarantine practices were initiated. One of these regions was Şahin, one of the large villages of the Western Thrace Turkish Minority. While officers died in many regions of Xanthi and especially in the army due to coronavirus and many soldiers were exposed to the virus, the country's media and some politicians brought only Şahin and Western Thrace Turks to the agenda. The racist media, taking advantage of the situation in Şahin, launched Western Thrace as the epicenter of the virus in the country and the Turkish Minority people as a virus with a disgusting understanding of publication.
In the Greek media, the Turkish Minority was treated as a virus for days. It was not enough, the spread of the virus was associated with Turkey via the Turkish Minority. Velopulos, President of the Greek Solution Party, did this via his Twitter account. Velopulos, who set up because of the brave Turkishness struggle against the assimilation policies of the Turkish Minority, gave the following statements in his post, taking advantage of the quarantine: "Şahin is in the Quarantine! There, the spies are living who are constantly entering Turkey! Consider also that Erdogan's Turkey!".
I also shared the vindictive discourse of Velopulos, the enemy of Turks and Islam, which is considered a hate crime, so that we should not forget what kind of inhuman mentality we are faced with. This mentality represented by Velopulos in the Parliament is almost nourished by the Greek Church fathers who regard attacking Islam and Turks with the language of hate day and night. You can access the news about the hate speech of the Church Metropolitans against the Turkish Minority and Islam from the archive of our newspaper and the virtual environment.
These anti-Turkic and anti-Islamic fanatic Greek Orthodox Church fathers announced that they would not abide by the pandemic measures implemented in the country and act as they knew on these holy days. In the first period of the pandemic, the Holy Synod Council of the Church of Greece, which attracted attention with its lawless attitude and arrogant appearances, stated in its statement that the government would not comply with the decision to keep churches closed during the "Theofania" ceremonies.
The government's response to the statement of the Synod Council, which almost challenged the state, was "The law is not valid at will, it cannot be applied as desired".
The government made the following statements regarding the decision of the Holy Synod Council of the Church of Greece, which disregard the social order and public health of the country:
"The government is in constant consultation with the church on services, respecting public health and public belief at every stage of the epidemic. In this context. Christmas and New Year rituals have been organized. In order not to jeopardize the steady pace of the fight against the virus, especially as the reopening of schools is considered. It has resulted in a return to the previous regime of restraint in society, and individual worship will continue without the participation of believers in temples.
The Holy Synod Council, with its decision, does not agree to new measures. However, the law cannot be implemented as desired so that anyone who disagrees can ignore it. We hope that the church will recognize its urgency for society, as it has done responsibly to this day. The implementation of prevention and precautionary measures is an obligation and at the same time an act of social solidarity and responsibility for all of us”.
Despite this statement by the government, the Greek church announced that it would not abide by the decision to keep churches closed and that rites would be held in churches with limited participation. The church announced that it would not go to any sea area by not using the power of attorney Archbishop Ieronimos received from the holy synod assembly as a supposed sign of goodwill. Although it was previously reported that the Greek Orthodox Church would apply to the Council of State for the annulment of the government's decisions, it was seen that three citizens made such an application and these were rejected by the General Assembly of the Council of State.
In the news in the Greek press, it was stated in the statement made by the police headquarters that the police did not want to confront the citizens in this case, they would only warn them to implement the necessary precautions and only in extreme cases, fines would be applied.
According to the leftist media, it was seen that the government and consequently the police units could not resist much and preferred to follow a "soft" position against this "holy rebellion" against the government's measures by the Greek Orthodox Church. Naturally, the following questions arose among the public: Who really runs this state? State rulers or church fathers? Are they the church fathers or the mafia boss?
The church which ignores the laws of the state, social order and public health is not reacted in the mainstream media. Especially in Western Thrace, we could not see the "brave" attacks of the local media that constantly target the Turkish Minority. Unfortunately, as long as this racist mentality continues to play a dominant role in the deep machinery of the state, neither the media nor the political organizations will really dare to react.
Moreover, in the present situation the Church is wrong. Its statements are criminal and naturally deserve both criticism and punishment. However, the Western Thrace Turkish Minority has never been and will never have an attitude like that of the Church. The minority has obeyed the laws of the state as a whole regarding the pandemic and we can say that it is an example in this regard. The Turkish Minority has given the biggest struggle in this pandemic process. Because they had to fight both the coronavirus and the racism virus.
The Church, which threatened the peace of the country with its radical statements, led the racist rhetoric and attacks against the Turkish Minority in the pandemic. Because it was the Church that targeted our mosques in the first period of the pandemic and then tried to silence our call to prayers. The archbishop opposed the closure of churches to mass worship due to the pandemic and said, "You cannot ask us to close our churches while the mosques are open". His concern is not with the virus but with the mosques and Muslims. The priests then surrounded our call to prayers in Western Thrace. He targeted our mosques with the saying, "If the churches' bells are to be silenced, let the prayers be silent first". Local and national media, with minor exceptions, also covered it.
We will somehow win the fight against this coronavirus, but what do we do with the racism virus that threatens all humanity? It should be focused on. Unless the Greek Orthodox Church is purified from radicalism and racism, it is not possible to talk about the real peace and tranquility prevailing in our country and geography.