ABTTF: Stylianidis continued his discourse of denial on the Turkish community in Western Thrace
New Democracy Party (NDP) Rodopi Deputy Evripidis Stylianidis, in his article published in Ta Nea newspaper on 1 October 2022, made some assessments with respect to the Turkish community in Western Thrace by referring to the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne.
In his article, Stylianidis indicated that the minority in (Western) Thrace is defined as a Muslim minority by the Treaty of Lausanne, arguing that Greece fully respects human and minority rights by creating an open democratic society model in (Western) Thrace, while at the same time preserving the identity of ethnic groups with linguistic and cultural differences.
Reacting to Stylianidis’s article the Federation of Western Thrace Turks in Europe (ABTTF) said: “Our names are Hasan, Fatma and the language of instruction in our schools is Turkish. But heaven knows why, according to our country, we are not Turks.”
The ABTTF’s statement is as follow:
‘‘In his article for the Ta Nea newspaper deputy of our region Stylianidis again did not see the reality and tried to impose upon us what does not exist as if it did exist upon us and attempted in convincing the international community with such statements that are incompatible with the facts.
The Treaty of Lausanne defines a ‘‘Muslim minority’’ and ‘‘non-Muslim’’ minority. Why, then, do the rulers of our country not use the definition of a religious minority for the Greek Orthodox minority in Istanbul, Gökçeada (Imbros) and Bozcaada (Tenedos), but talk about it as an ethnic minority at every opportunity?
However, Stylianidis knows very well that for 60 years, from 1923 to 1983, we were considered as ‘‘Turks’’ in our country. Until 1983, our associations bearing the word ‘‘Turkish’’ operated legally. The signboards of our schools and our report cards were bilingual in Turkish and Greek. But overnight we became a ‘‘Muslim’’ minority.
Our names are Hasan, Fatma and the language of instruction in our schools is Turkish. But heaven knows why, according to our country, we are not Turks.
In the midst of all these facts, Stylianidis claims that our country retains the identity of linguistically and culturally diverse ethnic groups. Why don’t we know about that? Why, then, has our country persistently failed to execute the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights as regards the Xanthi Turkish Union and the House of Macedonian Civilisation for years?’’