Katrougalos: “Everyone has the right to define themselves as they wish”
The statement by SYRIZA Deputy Katrougalos on the right of members of the Turkish community in Western Thrace to define themselves as they wish criticized by ABTTF.
İn the statement issued by ABTTF and signed by the president Habipoğlu, it was said: “I call on Katrougalos, as the SYRIZA Party, to make an effort to put the signboards of our three closed associations back in place if they win the elections and come to power, and put their rhetoric into action.”
ABTTF statement is as follows:
“The Head of the Department of Foreign Affairs of the main opposition party in our country Greece, Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) and Deputy of Athens Georgios Katrougalos, also touched upon the Turkish community in Western Thrace in his speech at the event organised by his party on the island of Syros.
According to the news report in local minority media Katrougalos, who claimed that the minority in Western Thrace is considered a Muslim minority according to the Treaty of Lausanne, indicated that everyone has the right to define themselves as they wish.
Referring to the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on the Xanthi Turkish Union, Katrougalos noted that the aforementioned ECtHR judgment states that everyone can define themselves as they want, but that does not change the characteristics of the minority (in Western Thrace).
SYRIZA Deputy Katrougalos is distorting the facts by interpreting the Treaty of Lausanne in a biased way.
As he knows very well, the term ‘‘non-Muslim’’ minority is used for the minority in Istanbul, Gökçeada and Bozcaada in the Treaty of Lausanne.
If, as he claims, the minority in Western Thrace is a ‘‘Muslim’’ minority, the minority in Istanbul, Gökçeada and Bozcaada is also a non-Muslim minority, not the Greek minority because the Treaty of Lausanne says so!
In his speech, Katrougalos says that the judgment of the ECtHR on the Xanthi Turkish Union confirms everyone’s right to define themselves as they wish, but our country has consistently failed to execute the aforementioned judgment for about 15 years, thus ignoring international law.
On the other hand, I would like to remind Katrougalos that not only Xanthi Turkish Union, but also the Komotini Turkish Youth Union and Western Thrace Turkish Teachers’ Union were closed down by the authorities of our country in the 1980s for the same reason, namely because of the word ‘‘Turkish’’ is present in their names.
I call on Katrougalos, as the SYRIZA Party, to make an effort to put the signboards of our three closed associations back in place if they win the elections and come to power, and put their rhetoric into action’’, said Halit Habip Oğlu, President of the Federation of Western Thrace Turks in Europe (ABTTF).