ABTTF President: “The words used by the MP Stylianidis in the speech he made at the Commission for the Development of Thrace are clear proof that in Greece, the Turkish community in Western Thrace is seen as the ‘other’ and considered as a ‘threat.’”
In the speech he delivered at the meeting of the inter-party Commission for the Development of Thrace which was set in the Greek parliament, the New Democracy Party (NDP) MP Evripidis Stylianidis from Rodopi called upon the government to protect Western Thrace from the demographic perspective.
According to the Gündem newspaper, at the commission meeting where the Greek Minister for Finance Christos Staikouras was also present, the MP Stylianidis requested to find a solution to issues pertaining to housing loan and pension of the Pontic Greeks living in Western Thrace. Indicating that it is necessary to ensure that Pontic Greek families stay in Western Thrace by lowering their housing loans, Stylianidis added the following: “Mr. Minister, we don’t want you to donate anything to the people who have done so much for Greece. We want you to protect Thrace demographically by allowing them to take root here.”
“The words used by the MP Stylianidis in the speech he made at the Commission for the Development of Thrace are clear proof that in Greece, the Turkish community in Western Thrace is seen as the ‘other’ and considered as a ‘threat’. Such explanations damage the peace and tranquillity environment in Western Thrace where different cultures have been coexisting for centuries. The Western Thrace Turks living with Greeks in the region have also been facing serious economic problems. Every step taken by the government towards the economic development of Western Thrace should consider all the different cultures living in the region. A measure which would be on the contrary of this would be discriminatory”, said Halit Habip Oğlu, President of the Federation of Western Thrace Turks in Europe (ABTTF).