Halit Habip Oğlu: “The problems encountered by the Turkish community in Western Thrace in the economic area must be taken into consideration in the commission and the Turkish community should be supported economically.”
The inter-party commission, which was created in the Greek Parliament regarding the development of the Western Thrace region at the proposal of the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, held its first meeting on 27 July 2020.
The Former Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Deputy for the New Democracy Party (NDP) Dora Bakoyannis was elected as chairwoman of the commission at the meeting. While Giorgos Katrougalos from SYRIZA party became deputy chairman of the commission, Andreas Loverdos from KINAL party became secretary general. The Xanthi deputy from SYRIZA party Hüseyin Zeybek who is a member of the Turkish community in Western Thrace is also among the member of the commission.
At the first meeting of the commission, two working groups were formed. The first working group will discuss development issues related to the Western Thrace region, and the second working group will discuss institutional issues such as education, social groups, demographics.
The commission will regularly visit the Western Thrace region from next September. The commission will prepare and present its report on Western Thrace within six months.
“The establishment of an inter-party commission in the Greek parliament for the development of Western Thrace is a step taken late but a positive step for our region. The majority of the Turkish community, which makes up around 60% of the population in the Rodopi province and almost half of the population in the Xanthi province in the region, is working in agricultural sector. The problems experienced by the Turkish community in the economic area, especially in agriculture, should be considered in the commission and it should be economically supported. On the other hand, the entrepreneurial characteristic of the Turkish community in Western Thrace in the economy must also be encouraged, and experts on issues related to the Turkish community should be invited to the commission meetings that will be held in the region”, said Halit Habip Oğlu, President of the Federation of Western Thrace Turks in Europe (ABTTF).