GUMULCINE – Day of resistance of Western Thrace Turks: 29 January

West Thrace Turks continue their struggle to protect minority rights by keeping the spirit of the resistance they showed on January 29, 1988, when their association with the word “Turkish” in their names was wanted to be closed.

Friendship, Equality, Peace (DEB) Party Chairman Çiğdem Asafoğlu told Anadolu Agency that January 29 is a national holiday for the Turks of Western Thrace, and that on January 29, 1988 and January 29, 1990, Western Thrace Turks showed serious resistance to the de-identification policies implemented by the Greek state.

Even after 35 years, the Turkish minority still has not received all its rights

Stating that 35 years have passed since the January 29, Asafoğlu stated that the Turkish minority still has not received all their rights, “Western Thrace Turks on January 29 only GreeceHe shouted that they are Turks against the whole world, not against Turkey.”

Stating that the struggle has always been within the framework of the principles of democracy, Asafoğlu stated that they will continue to seek justice from now on.

Pointing out that Western Thrace Turks were adversely affected due to the economic conditions in the region, Asafoğlu said:

“One of our most current problems at the moment is the economic bottleneck and the resulting migration. The crisis definitely affects the minority people more. Unfortunately, our university graduates have to immigrate from these lands and give up their hometowns.”

Ozan Ahmetoğlu, President of the Xanthi Turkish Union (ITB) and writer for Gündem newspaper, said that the pressure policies against Western Thrace Turks reached their peak in the 1980s.

Ahmetoğlu stated that the Turks of Western Thrace started the struggle for their rights with the implementation of the policies of assimilation and forcing immigration by the Greek state. Komotini The closure of the Turkish Youth Union, the Western Thrace Turkish Teachers’ Union and the Xanthi Turkish Union because they have the word “Turkish” in their names. Supreme Court He said it was approved by the court.

Ahmetoğlu continued:

“Actually, this gave the message, ‘There are no Turks in Western Thrace.’ At this date, the Turkish minority of Western Thrace has raised its voice against the denial of national identity, namely Turkishness, as well as the usurpation of citizenship rights and minority rights. I will continue and I will continue my life in this land by protecting my rights.’ gave the message”.

Ahmetoğlu, who said that thousands of people came to Komotini to participate in the demonstration, despite being banned by the Greek authorities on January 29, 1988, stated that they were shouting to the whole world that they were Turkish.

Explaining that the Turks of Western Thrace were attacked by fanatical groups at the January 29 commemoration event in 1990, Ahmetoğlu emphasized that this was a black mark for Greece.

Expressing that many workplaces belonging to Turks were looted in Komotini on this date, Ahmetoğlu said:

“Western Thrace Turks were, in a sense, forced to migrate to be sent from the region. It is very sad that Greece still has not apologized to the Western Thrace Turks regarding this pogrom. We expect an apology from the Greek state, of which we are citizens.”

“Thanks to those days, we were able to get some of our rights back”

Friendship Equality Peace (DEB) Party Central Executive Board (MYK) member Hüseyin Istanbullu also said that he came to the demonstration in Komotini on January 29, 1988 with great difficulty, and said that the Greek police closed all the roads to Komotini that day to prevent participation in the demonstration.

Istanbulite said, “That day was a day when we exploded because our rights were not given. The late Doctor Sadik Ahmet We wanted to hold a march in Komotini on January 29, led by the Greek state, to lift the pressure on us. Thanks to those days, we were able to get some of our rights back.”

Hüseyin Cahit, who took part in the demonstration, also noted that in the 80s, the Turks of Western Thrace were deprived of their basic citizenship rights, such as getting a driver’s license, and said that on January 29, 1988, a march to seek rights was organized in Komotini under the leadership of the late Doctor Sadik Ahmet.

Cahit said, “There was a situation like this: Sell and run. It was meant to say ‘Get out’. Western Thrace Turks endured these atrocities.” used the phrases.

Orhan, who was among the participants in the demonstration on January 29, 1988, who did not specify his surname, also stated that the whole world heard about the struggle of the minority to seek their rights thanks to January 29th.

Pointing out that there are still ungiven rights, Orhan said, “We still cannot elect our own muftis. Our schools are closed at the slightest opportunity.” said.

29 January resistance in Western Thrace

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

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

In the attacks that lasted for two days with the permission of the Greek police, more than 500 shops and workplaces belonging to the Turks were destroyed and looted. 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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