FUEN member Turkish organisations participate in OSCE meeting

Western Thrace
Tue, 30 Apr 2024 9:19 GMT
FUEN member Turkish organisations participated in the OSCE Additional Human Dimension Meeting held in Vienna, Austria on 22-23 April 2024.
FUEN member Turkish organisations participate in OSCE meeting

Turkish organisations that are members of the Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN) participated in the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Additional Human Dimension Meeting held in Vienna, the capital of Austria, on 22-23 April 2024.

The meeting titled "The Role of Civil Society in the Promotion and Protection of International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law" was attended by Western Thrace Turks and Meskhetian Turks who are members of FUEN Working Group on Turkic Minorities/Communities (TAG). Federation of Western Thrace Turks in Europe (ABTTF) and Western Thrace Minority University Graduates Association (WTMUGA) represented the Turkish community in Western Thrace and International Association of Meskhetian Turks "VATAN" represented Meskhetian Turks at the meeting.

Organised by the OSCE Maltese Chairmanship-in-Office and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), the meeting discussed the importance of civil society in documenting violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, particularly in times of conflict and humanitarian crises, as well as the significant threats faced by human rights defenders in the OSCE region and the impact of these challenges on their security and ability to effectively carry out their work.

In their speeches at the meeting, ABTTTF and WTMUGA pointed out that the rule of law has been systematically violated in Greece in the recent period and noted that as an important indicator of the rule of law, the judgements of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) concerning the Bekir Usta and Others Case Group involving Western Thrace Turkish associations have been persistently not implemented by Greece for 16 years despite all the warnings of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

ABTTF and WTMUGA stated that civil society organisations and representatives of the Turkish community in Western Thrace in Greece who defend their rights are constantly subjected to pressure and intimidation and stigmatised and that the Greek government applies isolation and marginalisation policies against the Turkish community in Western Thrace, denies its identity and does not recognise its elected muftis.

In its speech, the International Association of Meskhetian Turks "VATAN" expressed the problems in the process of return of Meskhetian Turks, who were deported to Central Asia in 1944 by the order of Soviet leader Josef Stalin, to their ancestral homeland in Georgia and stated that Georgia, which is obliged to complete the return process, has not fulfilled its obligations. VATAN called on Georgia to fulfil its obligations promised in its application for membership to the Council of Europe and to fulfil the necessary conditions for the return of the exiled Meskhetian Turks to their ancestral homeland.

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