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Will Greece implement the decisions of the ECHR?16 October 2020The case Iskeçe Türk Birliği (Xanthi Turkish Union) was discussed at the Greek Supreme Court Court (Arios Pagos).

The lawsuit filed by the Xanthi Turkish Union (ITB) in Western Thrace for the return of its official status after the legal arrangement for "adaptation of Greek courts to the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)" was discussed at the Greek Supreme Court Court (Arios Pagos).

The decision on the case discussed in the 4th Chamber of the Supreme Court is expected to be announced in 3 months.

ITB President Ozan Ahmetoğlu stated in his statement that ITB has been in a legal struggle for 37 years and said, "Our request, our expectation is the return of our association's official status and the end of injustice in accordance with the decisions of the ECtHR".

In Western Thrace, the ITB, which was closed by court decision in 1983 on the grounds that it had the word "Turk" in its name, brought the issue to the ECtHR in 2005 after the domestic remedies were inconclusive. In the case concluded in 2008, the ECHR convicted Greece on the conclusion that "Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights on the right to organize" was violated with the closure of associations belonging to the Turkish minority.

On the other hand, the legal regulation for the adaptation of the Greek courts to the ECHR decisions was approved by the Greek Parliament in 2017 by adding the statement "In case of national security, the decision may not be implemented" upon the objection of the opposition parties.

Greece did not allow and closed some associations established by the Turkish minority in Western Thrace, claiming that they were founded to defend the view that Turks are ethnic minorities.

The ECHR ruled that Greece violated Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) on freedom of organization and association.

The court also considered that even if the aim of the associations was to defend the view that the Western Thrace Turks an ethnic minority, this could not be considered a threat to the democratic society.

The ECHR convicted Greece in 2008 in the "Xanthi Turkish Union" case and in 2007 in the case concerning the association opened by Hasan Bekir Usta and his friends.

The domestic law applications made by the plaintiffs for the implementation of the ECHR judgments since then have been inconclusive.
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