Türkiye calls Greece's decision of closing minority schools 'discrimination'
"Discrimination is rule in Greece," Tanju Bilgic, the Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said on Twitter.
He added that Greece does not provide schools in Western Thrace if the total number of Turkish minority students in need of school is less than nine, whereas it is four for the Greek minority students in Türkiye.
Bilgic also noted that the number of teachers for the Turkish minority students is the same as that of the Greek minority students in Türkiye, despite the 3,000 Greek minority population in Türkiye and 150,000 Turkish minority population in Greece.
On Friday, Türkiye condemned Greece's decision of closing four more primary schools belonging to the Turkish Muslim minority in Western Thrace for the 2022/2023 school year.
“With this latest decision, more than a half of the Minority primary schools has been closed. Thus, Greece's policy of closing primary schools belonging to the Turkish Muslim Minority in Western Thrace through 'temporary suspension' has proven to be systematic,” Bilgic had said in an earlier statement.
Bilgic reiterated the Turkish minority's right to establish, manage, and inspect their own schools under the Treaty of Lausanne signed in 1923 -- which eventually paved the way for an independent Turkish republic.
He said the recent moves show the “discriminatory and oppressive policies” implemented against the Turkish minority in the field of education.
Bilgic had also urged Greece to put an end to its discriminatory policies toward Turkish minority schools year after year, adding: “Republic of Türkiye will continue to support the Minority's struggle for its rights and justice, both in bilateral contacts and international platforms.”
Greece's Western Thrace region is home to some 150,000 Muslim Turks, whose rights to elect their own religious leaders, found Turkish associations, and have their own schools have been denied by Athens in violation of European court orders.