The turning point of the rights struggle of the Western Thrace Turks: January 29

University of Trakya Balkan Research Institute Deputy Director Assoc. Dr. Ali Huseyinoglu, West Thrace He noted that the struggle of the Turks to claim their rights on January 29, 1988 was a turning point for the Turks of Western Thrace.

Assoc. Dr. Hüseyinoğlu told AA correspondent on January 29, 1988 to seek the rights of more than 10 thousand Turks. KomotiniHe said that they met in .

Expressing that the first dimension of the struggle was the basic human rights violations as a result of the pressure, intimidation and discrimination policies of the Greek governments on the Turkish minority since the 1960s, Hüseyinoğlu said, “The second one was the 1920s and 1930s, which had the phrase ‘Turk’ in its name. As a result of the series of courts of Xanthi Turkish Union, Komotini Turkish Youth Union and Western Thrace Turkish Teachers’ Union, which were established in the 1950s, the Greek government directed the abolition of the last two associations with the discourse “There are no Turks in Western Thrace”. Supreme CourtIt is the final judicial decision taken by the .

Expressing that the Greek judiciary’s “denial of Turkish identity” decision is the “last straw” in the Turkish minority’s struggle for rights, which has been going on for a while, Hüseyinoğlu noted that the Turkish minority’s struggle for rights has been brought to the top with human rights violations as well as denial of ethnic identity:

Hüseyinoğlu continued as follows:

“Members of the Turkish minority, with their citizens, villagers, young people, women, old people, imams, teachers, Dr. Sadik Ahmet, İbrahim Şerif, Mehmet Emin Ağa and İsmail Rodoplu acted together with pioneering names. They marched to Komotini on January 29, 1988 and shouted in unison to the whole world from the center of Komotini that all injustice and discrimination practices against them should be ended, that their religious identity is Muslim and their ethnic identity is Turkish, that they do not want to be treated as second-class citizens who have been exposed to open or covert discrimination. . The main message given in this historical march was that no one can deny Turkish identities and that our basic human and minority rights that have been violated for decades are now restored.”

events of 29 January 1990

Hüseyinoğlu said that although the ceremonies on the first anniversary of January 29 went smoothly, on January 29, 1990, the second year, the businesses belonging to Turks in Komotini were targeted by Greek fanatic groups.

Reminding that there have been incidents of violence and vandalism against Turkish-owned businesses, Hüseyinoğlu said:

“The fact that these incidents took place in centrally located points where the Greek forces controlled, and that although the shops of Turks and Greeks were side by side, the material damage occurred only in the shops belonging to the Turks, caused the tension between the Turkish minority and the Greek majority in Western Thrace to increase. and as a result of foreign pressure, some changes were made in its policy towards the Muslim Turkish minority in Western Thrace. GreeceIn time, it put an end to its violations, especially against fundamental human rights. The collective struggle and reaction on January 29, 1988 played a key role in this change.

Hüseyinoğlu stated that although the rights of Turks stemming from their Greek citizenship were restored after the struggle, the problems related to minority rights stemming from being a minority have been continuing for the last 30 years.

Expressing that the Muslim Turkish community with a population of 150 thousand lives in the Western Thrace region of Greece, Hüseyinoğlu concluded his words as follows:

“Although 35 years have passed since January 29, 1988, chronic and new problems continue to be experienced by the Muslim Turkish minority in many areas, from the denial of ethnic Turkish identity to issues related to mufti and foundation administrative committees, from victims of Article 19 to bilingual minority education. These problems continue to be addressed by the Greek authorities. in 1981, although its settlement by European Union We are witnessing that the steps expected by the members of the Turkish minority on this and similar issues by Greece, which has become a member of Turkey, have not been taken for the last 30 years.

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