Hakan Çavuşoğlu: "Those who use the Turkish expression are punished"
Abdullah Karakuş's interview today is as follows:
Hakan Çavuşoğlu was born in Western Thrace. From time to time, his eyes fill with tears as he describes the oppression of Greece, which he witnessed in the past.
Now, he is AK Party MP of Bursa, where the majority of those who come from Western Thrace to Türkiye lives. Meanwhile Çavuşoğlu is Chairman of the Human Rights Investigation Commission of the Grand National Assembly of Türkiye. He is also former Turkish Deputy Prime Minister.
We talked to Hakan Çavuşoğlu about his childhood experiences in Western Thrace, Greece's oppression of Turks in Western Thrace, the election of the mufti in Western Thrace, Greece's attitude towards refugees and the silence of the EU.
"In Orthodox Greece, where the theocratic administration is still effective, the governor can't even appoint a priest to the church, but it is pure black humor to appoint a clergyman to Muslims," he says. Criticizing the EU for keeping silent and supporting the human rights violations against Turks and refugees in Western Thrace, Çavuşoğlu said, “Greece has clearly violated EU law and international law. Even Turkish graves cannot be tolerated.”
Çavuşoğlu answered Milliyet's questions as follows:
*How do you evaluate the pressures of Greece in Western Thrace? Why doesn't the EU want to see it?
Greece has been continuing its policies of assimilation, oppression and forced migration on Western Thrace Turks for a century.
Today, the Turkish population in Western Thrace is approximately 150 thousand people. This number was 150,000 people in 1923. However, considering the population growth rate in Türkiye, since they share the same lifestyle and family structure, the population of Western Thrace Turks should have been around 700 thousand.
As a result of the oppression policies towards the minority, the population ratio of the Turks, who constitute 65 percent of the population of Western Thrace, decreased to 30 percent in the region.
Likewise, land ownership in the region, which was around 84 percent in 1923, decreased to 25 percent.
Greece carries out these oppression and persecution by trampling on all human rights norms in the literature and looking into the eyes of the EU and the civilized (!) West. Greece does not recognize the ethnic identity of the Turks of Western Thrace and punishes the use of the word 'Turk'.
Turkish associations were closed because the word 'Turk' was mentioned in their names. 60 thousand Western Thrace Turks, who went abroad for various reasons and came to Türkiye mostly for education and visits, were aware that they were stripped of their citizenship at the customs gate where they came to return.
Hakan Çavuşoğlu's eyes filled with tears while describing the pressures in Western Thrace.
* You were born in Western Thrace, can you tell us about your experiences?
Every Western Thracian gives similar answers to this question. They make you feel that you are the other, down to your bones. They shout to your face that you are not wanted, sometimes openly and sometimes implicitly. At school, in the military, at your workplace, someone approaches you and tries to make friends with you, then asks your name and makes you feel dissatisfied with the answer he receives, and slowly walks away from you.
For example, although years have passed, an article written on the wall has been etched in your brain and your dead end is: 'Turks out of Thrace'.
Since your farmer father was not given a tractor license in your childhood, you are assigned to the dominant areas of your village where your parents go to their fields, vineyards and gardens. You are asked to watch if the police is coming.
You immediately inform your father, uncle or neighbor that danger is approaching. Without wasting any time, he gets off the tractor and walks away. This continues until the danger is gone. It is difficult to be Turk in Greece…
After all, the pain of having to get a permit from the gendarmerie station that you are affiliated with before going to the village where they live to visit your grandmother or grandfather on a holiday never ceases in your heart.
Because the Greek administration drew a line between the village where they lived and the village of your parents and declared the area where they lived as a forbidden zone. Actually, both villages are in Greece. The distance between them is only a few kilometers.
But for you, it's a no-go zone. You cannot visit without permission, even if it is your closest relatives there.
With the Treaty of Lausanne, the Turks of Western Thrace have the right to organize and manage their religious, educational, social and cultural affairs independently of the Greek Administration.
Today, there are two muftis, elected and appointed, both in Xanthi and in Komotini. Elected muftis are the muftis who are respected by the society and accepted as the religious leaders of the minority.
The appointed muftis were abandoned by the Western Thrace Turks. The Mufti Election came to the agenda again after the death of the Elected Mufti of Xanthi Ahmet Mete in July, when the Greek administration did not take action to solve the problem, the minority made its own choice by electing Mustafa Trampa as Mufti, protecting its rights and will and giving a lesson of democracy to Greece.
Currently, the respected and legitimate muftis for the Muslim Turkish minority in Western Thrace are the elected muftis by the society. In Orthodox Greece, where the theocratic understanding of government is still effective, the governor can't even appoint a priest to the church, but appointing a clergyman to the Muslims is pure black humor. It should not be forgotten that at the same time, Türkiye gave Turkish citizenship to the Patriarch to be elected for the Orthodox Community in Istanbul.
At this point, Türkiye's approach to minorities in Türkiye and especially to the Greek minority presents a very good example. However, Greece could not take advantage of this example and could not give up the clenched fists on the Greek side, despite the steps taken and the constructive approach shown, especially under the leadership of our President, in the relations between the two countries during the AK Party government.
While shortsighted administrators are an important factor, it is necessary to see that Greece is a passive country under the yoke of the West. In fact, it is clear that the free will and independence of Greece, which covets the free will of our compatriots, is under mortgage.
It should be noted here that the pressures on religious and cultural assets are multidimensional and continue under many titles. Cultural roots are being tried to be removed, even Turkish graves cannot be tolerated.
They are clearly committing murder.
* Does Greece's attitude towards immigrants befit the EU and its principles?
Greek security forces openly commit murder in the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean in front of the eyes of the world. However, these actions carried out by Greece, aside from being criticized, are supported by the EU Border Security Unit and they participate in these crimes. Greece has clearly violated EU and international law.