ABTTF issues a parallel report to the report of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs

Western Thrace
Thu, 30 Mar 2023 9:41 GMT
ABTTF issues a parallel report to the report of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs

The European Western Thrace Turkish Federation (ABTTF) prepared a parallel report in response to the issues related to Western Thrace Turkish society in the “Report of Events Experienced in Areas of Religious Importance in Greece-2021” published by the Greek Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs on 3 January 2023 and forwarded it to the Greek President, the Greek Minister of Education and Religious Affairs and other relevant public authorities.

In its parallel report, ABTTF detailed the problems experienced by the Western Thrace Turkish community, which has religious autonomy in accordance with bilateral and international agreements, and expressed its views and demands. In its parallel report, ABTTF also conveyed the situation of mosques and places of worship in Western Thrace, as well as the religious problems of the Turkish community in Rhodes, Kos, and the Dodecanese and current issues regarding the preservation of historical, architectural, and cultural artifacts inherited from the Ottoman period in the islands.

Criticizing that the Ministry's report contains incomplete and contradictory information on the issues related to Western Thrace Turkish society and that it does not address the problems experienced by the Turkish society in the religious field, ABTTF stated that the report completely reflects the official state view.

Stating that in the report of the Ministry, the 1830 Protocol, the 1881 Treaty, the 1913 Athens Treaty, and the 1923 Lausanne Peace Treaty, which determine the status and rights of the Western Thrace Turkish society in the religious field, were not mentioned at all, ABTTF said that the state did not interfere with the inner workings of the other well-known religious communities in the country, while denying the right to elect the muftis of the Turkish society. He said he got it. ABTTF underlined that the religious autonomy of the Turkish society, which has been made autonomous in the religious field by bilateral and international agreements, is constantly violated and ignored by various laws and practices, and the last example of this is the "Modernization of Mufti Offices in Thrace" numbered 4964/2022, which was adopted by the Greek Parliament in July 2022. ABTTF stated that the law titled "The Law" was prepared, and that the views and objections of the Western Thrace Turkish community, which is the direct addressee of the issue, were not taken into account in any way.

ABTTF, noting that with the law no 4964/2022, the administrative functioning of the autonomous mufti was completely under the control of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, and they were transformed into public institutions affiliated to the Ministry, the ABTTF noted that with the relevant law, the state should establish full control and supervision over the autonomous mufti and thus, the religion of the Turkish society. He stated that the autonomy is wanted to be abolished completely.

ABTTF stated that the law on “Improvement of Special Education and Other Emergency Provisions” dated 29 July 2020 and numbered 4713/2020 is another direct state intervention in the functioning of autonomous religious schools (madrasahs) belonging to the Western Thrace Turkish community. In 2021, contrary to bilateral and international agreements, the Minister of Education and Religious Affairs criticized the appointment of mufti regents appointed by the government, which is not recognized by the Turkish society, as the head of the committees of the madrasahs in Komotini and Xanthi.

Regarding attacks on religious sites, ABTTF noted that in January 2022, an anti-Islamic banner reading "Stop the Islamization of Evros now!" was hung by unknown person or persons on a wall opposite the historic Çelebi Sultan Mehmet Mosque in Dimetoka, the Ottoman heritage of Dimetoka, which was damaged by a fire in 2017 and is still under restoration.

ABTTF stated that the statement in the Ministry's report that the planning procedures for the renovation of mosques in Western Thrace and the construction of new mosques belonging to the Turkish community were simplified does not reflect the truth, and noted that the ongoing planning problems of mosques, especially in the mountainous regions of Western Thrace, continue for years. Demanding that the historical Çelebi Sultan Mehmet Mosque in Dimetoka, which was damaged in the fire, be restored quickly and preserved for future generations as part of the architectural heritage, ABTTF requested that a significant portion of the Ottoman-era mosques across the country be left abandoned and some of them subjected to long restoration processes. criticized. ABTTF also noted that in Thessaloniki, the country's second largest city, where thousands of Muslims live, there are still no mosques and Muslim cemeteries open for worship.

Regarding the issue, ABTTF President Halit Habipoğlu said, “We see that in this year's report of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, the official state thesis is repeated, our objections to the interventions in our religious autonomy are ignored, and a unilateral and imposing approach continues. The new mufti law, which aims to completely abolish our religious autonomy, is null and void for our society. On the other hand, the statement in the preface of the Ministry's report that the priorities were determined for the establishment of a new institutional framework for the religious schools in Western Thrace and the clergy in our society is alarming. While the state does not interfere with the structure and internal functioning of the communities of other well-known religions in our country, it ignores our religious autonomy when it comes to our society, interferes with our religious autonomy at every opportunity, and shows these interventions as positive steps for our society. We demand that the government establish a direct dialogue with our society on all matters concerning our society, and adopt a genuine policy based on sincerity rather than a one-sided, imposing and discriminatory approach towards our society. We want our parallel report, in which we describe our problems with our religious autonomy, to be seen as proof of our search for dialogue with the government.”

Related News

MILLET MEDIA OE.
BİLAL BUDUR & CENGİZ ÖMER KOLLEKTİF ŞİRKETİ.
Address: Miaouli 7-9, Xanthi 67100, GREECE.
Tel: +30 25410 77968.
Email: info@milletgazetesi.gr.