Mufti of Xanthi makes satement on "29 January"
On 29 January 1988 and 29 January 1990, Western Thrace Turks were reminded of their struggle for national identity and the statement was made as follows: "On this occasion, I once again emphasise that we will demand what is rightfully the right of the Turkish Minority of Western Thrace and I congratulate our 29 January National Resistance and Social Solidarity Day!"
The statement issued with the signature of Mustafa Tarmpa, Mufti of Xanthi is as follows
"29 JANUARY NATIONAL DAY OF RESISTANCE AND SOCIAL SOLIDARITY
Today is the 36th anniversary of the Glorious March of Turkishness, which we carried out together on 29 January 1988 against the denial of our national identity. The day of this glorious march is a holiday for us. Happy National Resistance and Social Solidarity Day!
The mid-1960s is the period when human and minority rights violations against Western Thrace Turks started. After this period and especially in the 1970s, the process of oppression increased and reached an unbearable point in the 1980s. During these years, Western Thrace Turks were deprived of even the most basic individual rights guaranteed by the Greek Constitution and international human rights instruments.
During this period, many Muslim-Turks were arbitrarily deprived of citizenship and associations with the word "Turkish" in their names were tried to be closed down by court decision with the claim that "there are no Turks in Greece". Upon this, the Turkish Minority of Western Thrace organised a "mass resistance" in Komotini on 29 January 1988.
On this date, thousands of Western Thrace Turks organised a protest in Komotini against the Athens administration claiming that "there are no Turks in Western Thrace" and shouted "We are Turks" to the whole world. These events have shown to everyone that Western Thrace Turks will not compromise their national identity and their rights guaranteed by international agreements. However, unfortunately many Western Thrace Turks were injured in the incidents in which the Greek police was disproportionately involved.
In 1990, Western Thrace Turks took to the streets again for a silent march in order to show their reaction in order not to forget the bad events of 29 January 1988. As a result, they faced harsh intervention of the Greek police. Another aspect of the 1990 events was that fanatical and fascist Greeks also looted and burnt down the shops of Turks. This situation is the most important indicator that the security of life and property of the Turkish minority was not protected.
From the point of view of the painful events that took place, 29 January is a black page in the history of Western Thrace. However, besides this, today is a turning point day when the Turkish Minority of Western Thrace came together as one heart and one voice. We commemorate with mercy and gratitude all those who took part in this struggle, especially our late Mufti Mehmet Emin Aga, who brought us the National Resistance Day of 29 January 1988, when Western Thrace Turks were subjected to attacks for expressing that they were "Turks". To those who are still alive, we offer our health, well-being and gratitude.
On this occasion, I emphasise once again that we will demand what the Turkish Minority of Western Thrace has the right to within the framework of the rules of democracy everywhere and in every field by saying "Stop" to the unjust practices of the Greek Government, which continue today, and I congratulate our 29 January National Resistance and Social Solidarity Day!
Mufti of Xanthi"