General

Greece’s Turkish minority sends letter to UN over its problems

Greece’s Turkish minority sent a letter Tuesday to the UN’s special rapporteur on minority issues about problems it is facing.

The letter was sent by the Friendship and Equality Party (DEB) and was supported by numerous minority religious, educational, and civil associations. It highlighted problems with minority education, including Greece’s intervention in the minority’s autonomous educational system.

While more than 100 minority schools were closed in the last two decades, authorities did not permit the opening of bilingual kindergartens whose curricula would be taught in Turkish and Greek, said the letter.

It underscored that authorities also act in violation of international obligations regarding the Turkish minority’s rights by not legally allowing them to elect their religious leaders.

The letter said Turkish institutions are closed under the pretext that Greece does not have an internationally recognized Turkish minority and hence associations’ names cannot include “Turkish.”

It is noteworthy that Greece does not act in accordance with a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that favored the minority concerning the status of the associations, it added.

The Western Thrace region, near the northeastern border with Türkiye, is home to a substantial, long-established Muslim Turkish minority numbering around 150,000.

The rights of the Turks of Western Thrace are guaranteed under the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, but during the decades since the situation has seriously deteriorated, including Greece refusing to carry out rulings by the ECHR.

Source: Anadolu Agency