Western Thrace Turkish delegation composed of ABTTF, WTMUGA and FEP Party representatives explained the current developments and issues experienced in lately by the Turkish community in Western Thrace.
The Federation of Western Thrace Turks in Europe (ABTTF), the Western Thrace Minority University Graduates Association (WTMUGA) and the Friendship, Equality and Peace (FEP) Party, representing the Turkish community in Western Thrace attended the 1st thematic seminar of the Working Group of Turkic Minorities/Communities (TAG) in the Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN) which was held online on 25 March 2021.
Within the framework of the decision to meet regularly on the online platform as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak which was taken at the FUEN TAG 6th Annual Meeting in the last December, ABTTF, WTMUGA and FEP Party representing the Western Thrace Turks, the Public Organisation of Meskhetian Turks “VATAN” and the Public Union Of Meskhetian (Ahıska) Turks living in Azerbaijan “VATAN” representing Meskhetian Turks, the Social Organisation for Fostering and Development of the Karachay-Balkar Traditions (Bars El) representing the Karachay-Balkars and the Ukrainian Gagauz Union representing the Ukrainian Gagauz people attended the online seminar which brought together the Turkic minorities and communities.
In the first part of the seminar, which started with a greeting and opening speech by FUEN Vice-President and FUEN TAG Spokesperson Halit Habip Oğlu, Bars El Board Member Nadia Hadjieva gave a video presentation regarding the Karachay-Balkar Turks in the Russian Federation. Hadjieva cited the work and projects of Bars El and Bars El's youth organisation Elbrusoid for the preservation and development of the culture, language and traditions of Karachay-Balkar Turks.
In the second part of the seminar, the participating organisations conveyed the latest developments and current issues in the Turkic minorities and communities they represent and their countries. In this context, WTMUGA Vice-Chair Ilhan Memet and FEP Party General Coordinator Fatih Hüseyinoglu, on behalf of the Western Thrace Turkish delegation, expressed the recent problems of the Turkish community in Western Thrace. The Turkish delegation of Western Thrace stated that the economic difficulties in the region due to the economic crisis and the pandemic deeply affected the Turkish community in Western Thrace, and that during the pandemic, the state in Greece provided financial support to olive and melon producers, but that there was no financial support for cotton and tobacco in the region, which the Turkish community in Western Thrace is providing for. Referring to the current problems in education, the Western Thrace Turkish delegation indicated that the elections of councillors’ delegation in the Turkish minority schools in Western Thrace were repeatedly postponed due to the pandemic by the Greek authorities, but that on the other hand, deputy muftis appointed as the heads of the council delegation of madrasahs in Komotini and Xanthi were brought in.