West ThraceFriendship Equality Peace Party (DEB), United Nationsto the (UN) special rapporteur on minority issues, GreeceHe sent an informative letter about the main problems faced by the national minorities in Turkey, and especially the Turkish minority living in Western Thrace, and the latest developments.
In the letter, attention was drawn to problems that closely concern the Turkish minority, such as problems in education, interference with the minority’s autonomous education system, appointment of teachers, and intervention in the curriculum, and it was stated that some minority primary schools were closed every year without consulting the school council committees, on the pretext of student shortages.
“More than 100 minority primary schools were closed in 20 years”
In the letter, which recorded that more than 100 minority primary schools were closed in the last 20 years, it was underlined that the establishment of kindergartens that would provide bilingual education to the minority in Turkish and Greek was not allowed.
In the letter emphasizing that the Turkish minority of Western Thrace was given the right to elect their own religious leaders in accordance with international and national regulations, however, in violation of the provisions of international and bilateral agreements, Greece adopted the law numbered 1920/1991 in 1990 and deprived the minority of the right to elect their religious leaders, the letter said. Since then, there has been a duality of muftis appointed by the state in Western Thrace and muftis elected by the Turkish minority in the region.Muftis, who are accepted and respected by the minority, are often called ‘so-called muftis’ and humiliated by the local media and authorities in Western Thrace. and insulted.” expressions were used.
In the letter, it was stated that the Turkish minority could not freely manage foundation properties due to the fact that they were controlled by the state-appointed boards of directors since the junta period in 1967.
“Turkish minority cannot exercise its right to freedom of association and assembly”
The letter noted:
“Our half-century-old associations with the word Turkish in their names have been closed. For this reason, the Turkish minority is exposed to a great deal of discrimination while exercising its right to freedom of association and assembly. The decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) regarding the return of the legal status of Turkish associations have not been implemented since 2008.”
Reminding that FEP Party Chairman Çiğdem Asafoğlu became the target of the mainstream Greek media when she openly expressed her Turkish identity in an interview she gave to a television after her victory in the region in the 2019 European Parliament elections, the letter underlined that prominent minority figures face serious threats.
In the letter, “Unfortunately, no progress was made on the injustices in the context of minority rights that minority people drew attention to on January 29, 1988. Talking about the same issues on the eve of the National Resistance and Solidarity Day makes us worry about the future.” expressions were used.
to the letter, Komotini Elected Mufti, Xanthi Elected Mufti, Komotini Turkish Youth Union, Western Thrace Minority Graduates Association, Xanthi Turkish Union, Western Thrace Turkish Teachers Union, Western Thrace Mosques Religious Officials Association, Western Thrace Imam Hatip High School Graduates and Members Association, Western Thrace Minority Cultural and Education Company, Union of Western Thrace Minority Schools Councilors, Meric Minority Youth Association and Rhodope Province Turkish Women Cultural Association also supported.