ABTTF President Halit Habip Oğlu: “Turkish villages have been shown as dynamic whereas Greek villages next to Turkish villages have been shown as less-favoured. The assistance which has been granted for years according to this list has been unequal and discriminatory and the Turkish community in Western Thrace has faced economic damage as a result”
The list of disadvantaged areas has been updated within the framework of the European Union’s European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) programme. According to news from Rodop Rüzgarı dated 11 May 2020, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development updated the map of disadvantaged areas with an objective to support to mountainous areas and areas facing natural constraints other than mountainous areas within the framework of the 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme.
With the new list, many Turkish villages which did not benefit from rural developments funds in the past as they were deemed as developed will now be included in areas facing natural constraints within the demarcations based on a list of bio-physical criteria.
Under the EAFRD programme prepared for a 7-year-period, EU Member States, including Greece are sharing funds according to national lists which have been included in the national rural development programmes that they prepare. According to the national list, which was established with very detailed criteria, mountainous areas and other disadvantaged areas did benefit from the funds whilst areas which have been described as dynamic did not benefit from funds. In the national list established in 1985, most Turkish villages had been listed under the dynamic category, whilst Greek villages which are in its geographic vicinity had been characterised as being disadvantaged area. This situation led to significant inequality and discrimination in the share of the funds stemming from the programme. A total budget of 5.93 billion euros for Greece was approved by the amendment to the 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme, with 4.7 billion euros covered by the EU budget. For the period 2007-2013, the total budget was 5.07 billion euros.
According to EU Directive 1305/2013, the new demarcations in accordance with bio-physical criteria set by the EU to strengthen areas with natural constraints except for mountainous areas has been extended and updated. According to new demarcations announced by the Ministry of Rural Development on 13 September 2018 and approved by the European Commission in 2019, Arriana (Kozlukebir), Dilina (Delinazköy), Fillyra (Sirkeli), Mikri Fillyra (Küçük Sirkeli), Likion (Kurcalı), Dokos (Domruköy) and several other villages within the borders of Arriana (Kozlukebir) Municipality which were classified as dynamic have now been categorised as areas facing natural constraints.
The villages of Mega Pisto (Büyük Müsellim) and Mishos (Çepelli) which are bound to the Municipality of Iasmos (Yassıköy) and the villages of Arísvi (Ircan) and Mirana (Muratlı) within the borders of the Municipality of Sapes-Maroneia (Şapçı-Maronya) were included within the category of areas facing natural constraints. The province of Xanthi which used to be before in the dynamic category has been taken into the category of areas facing natural constraints. According to the new classification, Yeniséa (Yenice), Sounion (Sünnetçi) and Selero (Gökçeler) which are located within the boundaries of the Municipality of Bulustru(Avdira) and Evlalon(İnhanlı) and Avato (Beyköy) which are located within the boundaries of the Municipality of Topiros (İnhanlı) have been categorised as areas facing natural constraints. As for the province of Evros, Alexandroupoli(Dedeağaç), Didymoteicho(Dimetoka)and Orestiada(Kumçiftliği) have been included within the category of areas facing natural constraints whilst the villages of Avestades(Kireççiler), Píthion (Kuleliburgaz) and Sofiko (Çavuşköy) which are located within the boundaries of the Municipality of Didymoteicho.
Halit Habip Oğlu, President of the Federation of Western Thrace Turks in Europe (ABTTF), made the following statement, “Within the framework of the Rural Development Programme, which has been implemented in seven-year periods since 2000, the distribution of funds and incentives for agricultural and rural development, including on different axes, is based on the lists set by the countries. When we take a look at the list established in 1985 and that we compared Turkish and Greek villages which are next to each other, although Greek villages are at better stage of development than the Turkish villages, the Turkish villages were shown as being dynamic whilst Greek villages were within the less-favoured category. As ABTTF, we have expressed this inequality and discrimination in our work in Brussels since 2015. Following our work and activities at the European Parliament and the EU Commission level, it is glad to see that our country has prepared a much fairer list by updating the national list, albeit within the shortcomings of Greece. However, we see that Vakafia(Boyacılar), Filia (Dinkler) and Lefkopetra (Sakarkaya),which are classified as dynamic in the previous list, still remain in the same category. We also see that many Greek villages, which are highly developed but were shown as less-favoured in the previous list, are also considered as areas facing natural constraints under the less-favoured category. By examining the new list in detail, we will continue to explore possible new unequal situations and pursue this issue”.
Please follow the link regarding the list on new demarcations: http://pconsult.minagric.gr/index.php/el/92-oriothetisi_perioxwn