Turkey accuses Greece of violating “Turkish” minority rights in Thrace in blatant statement

13 August 2020
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The Turkish Foreign Ministry released a statement Wednesday accusing Greece of violating the rights of the “Turkish” minority in Thrace, as it dubs the Muslim minority in the north east regional unit of Greece.

Responding to a question about the rights of minorities and the so-called “suppression” of the Muslims in Thrace, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hami Aksoy alleged Greek authorities had closed down minority school in Thrace using the Covid-19 pandemic as a pretext. Turkey continues to exhibit its uncompromising and maximalist foreign policy positions by falsely accusing other states of violating laws and conventions, while doing exactly that itself, as evidenced by its stance in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

 

Greece has been closing the primary schools that belong to the Turkish Minority in Western Thrace for the last 25 years, under the pretext of austerity measures in the country and lesser number of students, through “temporary suspension”, without consultation with the Minority.

The recent closing of eight additional Minority primary schools has constituted the latest example of this practice. With this latest decision, the number of Turkish Minority primary schools, which has been 231 until 25 years ago, dropped to 115.

This practice by Greece is a part of the assimilation and oppression efforts towards the Turkish Minority Western Thrace. Meanwhile, the EU has been a mere spectator to the systematic violation of human rights in a member country.

We ask Greece to cease its systematic policy, which is not compatible with the Lausanne Peace Treaty, hindering the education of the children of the Minority, and reopen the schools it has closed.

In this regard, we support the reactions of the institutions and the establishments of the Turkish Minority in Western Thrace, and bring this issue to the consideration of the international human rights organizations.

Our initiatives toward the Greek authorities aiming to solve the problems concerning the education of the Turkish Minority in Western Thrace in accordance with the principle of reciprocity founded by the Lausanne Peace Treaty, will continue unabated.

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