Hakan Çavuşoğlu reacts to the closure of Turkish schools
"The closure of schools also has negative effects in terms of workforce and employment in the education sector. Teachers, staff and other relevant persons in the region will be unemployed and forced into economic migration."
It is stated that Greece's closing of minority schools is a violation of Western Thrace Turks' right to education in their mother tongue and opening schools arising from historical agreements, and that it puts the future of minority school workers at risk.
Western Thrace origin politician Hakan Çavuşoğlu, who was also the Deputy Prime Minister of the 65th Government of the Republic of Türkiye, the Chairman of the Human Rights Commission of the Grand National Assembly of Türkiye and the AK Party Bursa Deputy, evaluated the consequences of the closure of minority schools in Greece.
Çavuşoğlu stated that while there were 307 minority primary schools in Western Thrace in 1926, the number of primary schools providing education decreased to 90 with the closure of 7 more Turkish minority primary schools in Rhodope and 2 Turkish minority primary schools in Xanthi on 19 July.
It also has negative consequences in terms of employment and employment. Teachers, staff and other relevant persons in the region will be unemployed and forced into economic migration." said.
Noting that the closure of Muslim Turkish schools in Western Thrace is a clear indication that Greece does not respect minority rights, Çavuşoğlu said that the country continues to intervene to close schools and restrict the Turkish curriculum, contrary to all international agreements.
"Violation of the principle of equal opportunity in education causes discontent among other members of society"
Noting that education is one of the main tools for the social, cultural, economic and political empowerment of minorities, Çavuşoğlu emphasized that education is one of the most important elements for Western Thrace Turks to transfer their cultural heritage, language and traditions to future generations.
Çavusoglu warned that the closure of schools may lead to an increase in intolerance and discrimination in the society, "Violation of the principle of equal opportunity in education causes discontent among other members of the community and may threaten social peace." shared his opinion.
Recalling that throughout Greece, including Western Thrace, from the 2011-2012 academic year, pre-school minority students were forced to attend kindergartens operating only in Greek, "This practice points to a clear assimilation. Every decision that excludes family, community representatives and institutions in the country is excluded from the Treaty of Lausanne. It is a violation of the rights of minority’s born." he said.
Pointing out that increasing the number of schools belonging to the Muslim Turkish minority in Western Thrace and increasing the quality of this education will ensure equal opportunities in education, Çavuşoğlu underlined the need to remove obstacles to the establishment of "private minority education institutions".
"Negative effects may manifest themselves in areas such as education, cultural identity, social cohesion, economic and social impacts and human rights. Closing minority schools may complicate the social cohesion and integration of Muslim Turkish students. Minority schools provide students with the opportunity to exist in society with their own cultural values and to engage with other community members. It provides an opportunity to interact. Raising social awareness is important for the protection of the education rights of the Muslim Turkish minority. Awareness should be raised in the society regarding minority rights and education rights through campaigns, seminars and events."
The positive developments in the relations between Türkiye and Greece directly affect the minority.
Noting that despite the obligation to include the term "Turkish Primary School" in all minority primary schools in Western Thrace, with the law no. 3065 enacted in 1954, even the Turkish lessons in the curriculum were interfered with, Çavuşoğlu said, adding that these practices were an open intervention in the autonomous education system of the Muslim Turkish minority in Western Thrace. he said.
"After the 1999 earthquake, as a result of the rapprochement of İsmail Cem and Yorgos Papandreou, the foreign ministers of that period, an additional building was built in Komotini Celal Bayar Minority High School. Thanks to this, the educational capacity of the school was greatly increased. Türkiye is the guarantor state in the protection of the rights of the Muslim Turkish Minority of Western Thrace. Türkiye and Greece, can set an example for all neighboring countries by displaying a peaceful and constructive attitude within the framework of the principle of good neighborliness in solving the problems experienced in Western Thrace. Developing direct dialogue mechanisms between Türkiye and Greece can contribute to strengthening relations between the two countries, solving problems and increasing regional stability."