Parallel report to the US Human Rights Report

Western Thrace
Thu, 28 Apr 2022 10:17 GMT
The Federation of Western Thrace Turks in Europe (ABTTF) prepared a report in parallel to the Greece 2021 Human Rights Report published by the Department of State of the United States of America (USA) and forwarded it to the US authorities. In its paralle...
Parallel report to the US Human Rights Report

The Federation of Western Thrace Turks in Europe (ABTTF) prepared a report in parallel to the Greece 2021 Human Rights Report published by the Department of State of the United States of America (USA) and forwarded it to the US authorities.

In its parallel report, ABTTF detailed the issues faced by the Turkish community in Western Thrace in the field of human and minority rights and provided updates on the issues and current developments of the Turkish community, which were not included in the US report.

In its parallel report, ABTTF expressed disappointment that the 2021 report had the title pertaining to the members of national/racial/ethnic minority groups removed and that the issues of the Turkish community in Western Thrace had been given limited space within the framework of the report

ABTTF stated that the Court of Cassation rejected in its decision of 29 June 2021 for the execution of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and the restoration of the official legal entity of the Xanthi Turkish Union (XTU), which had been closed due to the word ‘Turkish’ in its name, and it was further noted that XTU had protested against the decision rendered by the Court of Cassation which ignored ECtHR case-law in a protest march it realised on 10 July 2021. 

Noting that the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe monitors closely the execution of the judgments of the ECtHR with respect to the ‘Bekir-Ousta and Others Group of Cases’, which includes the Turkish community in Western Thrace, ABTTF noted that the appeals of the Cultural Association of Turkish Women of the Prefecture of Rodopi and the Evros Prefecture Minority Youth Association, which were not recorded by the Greek national courts, were discussed on 1 October 2021, but it was further indicated that the Court of Cassation is not expected to make a positive decision on either of the two associations in this fully politicized group of cases.

ABTTF urged Greece to immediately take all necessary measures to execute the ECtHR judgments concerning the ‘Bekir-Ousta and Others Group of Cases’ without further delay and to allow the registration of associations bearing the word ‘Turkish’ in their names.

Indicating that under the heading of religious freedom, the Turkish community in Western Thrace was granted the right to choose its own religious leaders by the 1913 Treaty of Athens, which was further guaranteed by the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, ABTTF noted that in spite of all this, Greece does not recognise the muftis elected by the Turkish community in Western Thrace and that it continues to appoint the muftis. 
Noting that the Turkish community in Western Thrace has the right to establish, manage and control its own educational institutions within the framework of the the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne under the heading of education, ABTTF stated that this autonomy of the Turkish community in Western Thrace has been destroyed by various legal regulations and practices over the years. Furthermore, ABTTF noted that bilingual Turkish primary schools in Western Thrace were closed one by one every year under the austerity measures taken in 2010, on grounds of a lack of students, and that the number of Turkish primary schools decreased over the years from 194 in 2008 to 103 in the 2021-2022 school year as a result of this practice, which has become a tool of systematic discrimination against the Turkish community in Western Thrace.

ABTTF urged Greece to restore the educational autonomy guaranteed by the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne to the Turkish community in Western Thrace and to allow the Turkish community in Western Thrace to establish bilingual private kindergartens with the opening of bilingual kindergartens within the Turkish minority school system.

 

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