29 January Social Solidarity Day message from the European Western Thrace Turkish Federation

Europe West Thrace Turkish Federation (ABTTF) President Halit Habipoğlu stated that with the determination and spirit of struggle on January 29, 1988, the Turkish society of Western Thrace will not bow to injustice and oppression, and that they will continue to fight for identity, rights and freedoms within the framework of democracy rules.

In the statement published by ABTTF on social media with the signature of Habipoğlu on the occasion of January 29 Social Solidarity and National Resistance Day, it was reminded that on January 29, 1988, Western Thrace Turks shouted “We are Turks” against the Greek state’s denial of their Turkish identity.

Noting that the Turks of Western Thrace did not bow to political, social and cultural pressures and announced their democratic reaction to the whole world, Habipoğlu said:

“As ABTTF, on the 35th anniversary of our 29 January Social Solidarity and National Resistance Day, we call on our country to fully respect all the rights of our society arising from the Lausanne Peace Treaty and bilateral agreements, and we want the return of our educational and religious autonomy, which has been usurped by various laws and practices for years. We, as citizens of our country, are not marginalized. We want to have a say in all matters that directly concern us and to be included in the decision-making mechanisms.

Stating that they continue their struggle against the denial of the existence of Western Thrace Turks, Habipoğlu said that Xanthi Turkish Union, Rhodope Province Turkish Women Cultural Association and Meric Regarding the Provincial Minority Youth Association GreeceHe stressed that Greece still has not implemented this decision, even 15 years after the decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that Turkey violated the freedom of association.

Habipoğlu said, “Recently, it is desired to create a perception as if it is a crime for the leaders of our society to be in the same square with the consul general of our homeland at events, meetings and Friday prayers related to our customs, traditions and culture. Someone is constantly and consciously trying to muddy the waters in our region.” shared his opinion.

Stating that as the ABTTF, they brought the injustice and oppression against the Western Thrace Turks to the agenda in the international arena, Habipoğlu underlined that they will continue to fight even after 35 years have passed since 29 January 1988.

29 January resistance in Western Thrace

The Turkish minority, after the associations in Western Thrace with the expression Turkish in their names were requested to be closed by court decision on the grounds that there are no Turks in Greece, KomotiniOn January 29, 1988, he carried out a great march called collective resistance.

On January 29, 1990, the second anniversary of these reactions, mass attacks were organized against Turks in Komotini and Xanthi by fanatical Greek groups.

With the permission of the Greek police, more than 500 shops and workplaces belonging to the Turks were destroyed and looted in the attacks that lasted for two days. Deputy Many Turks, including Ahmet Faikoğlu, were beaten.

The Turkish minority in Western Thrace organizes “commemoration” events on January 29 every year.

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