The spirit of resistance shown by Western Thrace Turks on 29 January continues

Western Thrace
Tue, 30 Jan 2024 10:06 GMT
Western Thrace Turks continue to protect their minority rights by keeping the fire of the resistance they put forward on 29 January 1988 alive.
The spirit of resistance shown by Western Thrace Turks on 29 January continues

Western Thrace Turks continue to protect their minority rights by keeping the fire of the resistance they put forward on 29 January 1988 alive in order to protect their rights and to exist freely in the lands where they live.

Mustafa Trampa, Mufti of Xanthi, in his statement to AA correspondent, reminded that on 29 January 1988 and 29 January 1990, Western Thrace Turks showed serious resistance against the de-identification policies implemented by the Greek state.

Stating that the Turkish community in Western Thrace showed a "peaceful outcry and resistance" against the unlawful practices and especially against the practices contrary to international treaties, Trampa emphasised that the struggle for rights has always been carried out within the framework of law.

Trampa stated that there were very serious pressures against the historical institutions of the Turkish community in Western Thrace in 1983-1988 and said: "The regional governors of the period filed closure cases against Komotini Turkish Youth Union (GTGB), Western Thrace Turkish Teachers' Union (BTTÖB) and Xanthi Turkish Union (İTB). This shows the following: What is meant by the closure is the elimination of the word "Turkish" on the signboards."

Greece denies the national identity of Western Thracian Turks

Underlining that this means the denial of national identity and ignoring national identity, Trampa stated that the Turkish community has no choice but to resist this.

Trampa explained that İTB, GTGB and BTTÖB were closed down in the 1980s with the allegation that their names included the word "Turkish" and that the minority in Western Thrace was defined as "Muslim" rather than "Turkish" in the Treaty of Lausanne and noted that the appointment of a mufti to the Muftiate of Komotini by the Greek government for the first time in 1985 was the last straw.

Trampa said, "After all these, 29 January is the name of the reactions of the leading representatives of the minority coming together against the unlawful practices of Greece, which ignores the minority. 29 January is a day of pride for us. It is a day of honour. In history, every society, every nation has a turning point, a story. 29 January is also our story. It is the story of our minority. This story is the proof of our existence."

ITB PRESIDENT OZAN AHMETOĞLU

Ozan Ahmetoğlu, President of Xanthi Turkish Union (ITB) and author of Gündem newspaper, said that the oppression policies against Western Thrace Turks reached its peak in the 1980s.

Ahmetoğlu stated that Western Thrace Turks started to struggle for their rights with the implementation of assimilation and forced migration policies by the Greek state and pointed out that Komotini Turkish Youth Union, Western Thrace Turkish Teachers' Union and Xanthi Turkish Union were closed down in the 1980s because they had the word Turkish in their names.

Ahmetoğlu said, "Xanthi Turkish Union took the case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). Although the ECtHR found the Turkish Union of Xanthi justified, Greece has not implemented the ECtHR judgement for 15 years. It does not restore the legal status of the Xanthi Turkish Union."

Fanatic groups looted many businesses belonging to Turks in Komotini

Ahmetoğlu explained that Western Thrace Turks were attacked by fanatic groups during the 29 January commemoration event in 1990 and emphasised that this was a black stain for Greece.

Stating that on this date, many workplaces belonging to Turks in Komotini were looted, Ahmetoğlu said the following:

"Western Thrace Turks were forced to migrate in a sense to be expelled from the region. It is very sad that Greece still has not apologised to Western Thrace Turks for this pogrom. We are waiting for an apology from the Greek state of which we are citizens. As this apology has still not come, many of the conditions that led to the Day of National Resistance and Social Solidarity on 29 January 1988, 36 years ago, are still valid. Many problems persist. First and foremost, the denial of our national identity continues. Institutions and representatives of Western Thrace Turks are targeted. Their identity is marginalised. This situation is extremely worrying in terms of democracy and human rights."

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