Türkiye: We stand behind the Western Thrace Turkish Minority

Western Thrace
Fri, 16 Sep 2022 8:31 GMT
As Xanthi Deputy Hüseyin Zeybek was threatened with death The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Türkiye called for an investigation into the incident.
Türkiye: We stand behind the Western Thrace Turkish Minority

Türkiye on Friday called on authorities in Greece to investigate a death threat against a Greek lawmaker who is also a member of the country's Muslim Turkish minority.

"We expect the Greek authorities to investigate this serious incident and punish the perpetrators," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Twitter, sharing a statement from the Turkish Minority Advisory Board in Greece's Western Thrace region, which explained that Hüseyin Zeybek was threatened.

"We stand behind the Turkish Minority of Western Thrace, which will not give up its struggle for human rights and freedom despite all threats and pressure," the ministry added.

According to a statement by the Western Thrace Turkish Minority Advisory Board, Zeybek was threatened during a live television program on local Next TV by a person who called into the program.

The board said the threatening phone call intended to "turn the marginalizing and targeting rhetoric (by Greece) that has been going on for many years into action."

Greece's Western Thrace region, in the country’s northeast, near the Turkish border, is home to a substantial, long-established Muslim Turkish minority numbering around 150,000, or around a third of the population. The rights of the Turks of Western Thrace were guaranteed under the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, but since then the situation has steadily deteriorated.

After a Greek junta came to power in 1967, the Turks of Western Thrace started to face harsher persecution and rights abuses by the Greek state, often in blatant violation of European court rulings. The Turkish minority in Greece continues to face problems exercising its collective civil and education rights, including Greek authorities banning the word "Turkish” in the names of associations, shuttering Turkish schools and trying to block the Turkish community from electing its own muftis.


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