ABTTF attends the 49th session of the UN Human Rights Council
The ABTTF expressed regret that Greece did not accept the recommendations regarding the Turks of Western Thrace and the Turks of Rhodes and Kos.
Participating in the Universal Periodic Review Mechanism (UPR) Results of Greece, ABTTF presented its recommendations regarding the problems encountered in the recognition of the ethnic Turkish identity of the Western Thrace Turkish community, the restoration of educational and religious autonomy, and the implementation of the ECHR decisions regarding the freedom of association.
The European Federation of Western Thrace Turks (ABTTF) took part in the "Universal Periodic Review Mechanism (UPR) Results" session at the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council's 49th Ordinary Session, which took place from February 28 to April 1, 2022.
ABTTF, which has a special advisory status with the UN Economic and Social Council, participated in the UPR Results session held on 23-24 March 2022, where the results of the 3rd Cycle Review of Greece were discussed, and presented its recommendations on Western Thrace Turkish society.
At the meeting in Geneva, attended by ABTTF International Relations Director Melek Kırmacı Arık, the results of the investigation on Greece, which was examined by the UPR Working Group on 1 November 2021, were discussed. ABTTF, which prepared a report parallel to the national report presented by Greece by following the review of Greece in November, conveyed all the problems of the Turkish society in Western Thrace and presented its recommendations for Greece. ABTTF, which also followed the examination results session on March 23, 2022, presented its recommendations on the problems of Western Thrace Turkish society regarding the results of the examination.
Greece stated in a session on March 23, 2022 that they had carefully examined the recommendations of the UN Human Rights Council member states to Greece within the framework of the mechanism, as well as the report presented by the UPR Working Group following the review on November 1, 2021. Stating that they accepted 219 out of 239 recommendations submitted to Greece, Greece announced that as part of their confidence in the UPR mechanism, they will submit an interim report before the next review.
Turkey stated at this session that Greece had rejected all of Turkey's recommendations regarding the Western Thrace Turkish community, and that the Western Thrace Turkish community's problems with education, religion, and freedom of association-which is directly related to ECtHR decisions, have persisted. Turkey noted that a cemetery in Western Thrace has recently destroyed to make way for a football field, stating that Greece had not implemented the ECHR judgements for 14 years.
In its concluding remark, Greece said that they will continue to abide by international law and all important human rights documents, including international minority standards, and fully implement the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, which has kept its Muslim minority alive and enriched.
ABTTF, which also presented a written statement to the UN Human Rights Council on the results of Greece's UPR, presented its recommendations regarding the problems encountered in the recognition of the ethnic Turkish identity of the Western Thrace Turkish community, the restoration of educational and religious autonomy, and the implementation of the ECHR decisions regarding the freedom of association. In addition, the ABTTF criticized the definition of the Turkish community in Rhodes and Kos as Muslim Greek citizens by Greece, and stated that the Turkish society in Rhodes and Kos did not have the opportunity to receive education in their mother tongue and to determine their own religious leaders.
Participating to the concluding remarks session, ABTTF expressed its regret in its oral presentation to the Council that Greece did not accept any of the recommendations regarding the Western Thrace Turkish community and the Rhodes and Kos Turkish community. Stating that the state intervened in every field in the education and religious autonomy of the Western Thrace Turkish society, which was given by the Treaty of Lausanne, ABTTF noted that the ethnic Turkish identity of the Western Thrace Turkish society was not recognized and as a result, associations with the word "Turk" in their names were closed. ABTTF stated that in three cases known as the Bekir Usta and Others Case group, although Greece was convicted by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), it had not implemented the ECtHR rulings for 14 years.