Following an interview by MP Evripidis Stylianidis on 27 February 2021 where he made strong accusations against ABTTF, ABTTF sent a warning letter to Stylianidis and three press and media organisations who had published Stylianidis’ accusations.
As a result of an interview given by New Democracy Party (NDP) Rodopi MP Evripidis Stylianidis to the programme of journalist Paris Karvounopoulos on the Militaire.gr website on 27 February 2021 where he made statements directly targeting the Federation of Western Thrace Turks in Europe (ABTTF) and including accusations against ABTTF, ABTTF decided to send a warning letter to Stylianidis and three press and media organisations that are Militaire, Foni Rodopis and Larissa New which had published the statements made by Stylianidis.
In his interview with Militaire, Stylianidis accused ABTTF which is the representative of the Turkish community in Western Thrace in the international arena, of being an association funded by Turkish centres and deliberately operating in Germany and alleged that ABTTF dealt with Stylianidis personally with its purposeful statements. Stylianidis had alleged that ABTTF is an organisation that is deliberately based in Germany, and that if ABTTF had been headquartered in Greece, ABTTF’s form of address and actions would have been in direct conflict with the Greek Constitution and Greek laws.
In the warning sent to Stylianidis and to the three organisations that published the statements of Stylianidis on their pages, ABTTF stated that false and slanderous statements and accusations included in the interview that Stylianidis gave to Militaire do not reflect the reality. In the warning letter, ABTTF indicated that, in the period following the banning of associations with the word ‘Turkish’ in their names, immediately following the events of 29 January 1988, seven associations established in Germany by Greek citizens who immigrated from Western Thrace had founded the Federation in February 1988 as an umbrella organisation in order to express the issues pertaining to the community. Furthermore, ABTTF noted that, contrary to what had been claimed by Stylianidis, ABTTF had been established in Germany not to avoid legal restrictions that it would have been subjected to if ABTTF had been established in Greece but because it is its permanent place of residence.
ABTTF stated that its actions, while completely legal, are based on international law and in no way contrary to the Greek Constitution, on the contrary, stating that it is a bridge of friendship, a compromise forum, a strong bulwark against fanaticism and intolerance, and contrary to what Stylianidis has alleged wrongfully from first hand with slander, the Federation’s efforts are aimed at ensuring that the people of the region live together peacefully.
In response to the allegation that ABTTF had been targeting Stylianidis and reminding in this respect of the statement made by ABTTF President Halit Habip Oğlu, ABTTF indicated that it would not be possible in any way for the Federation to target personally Stylianidis and deal with him, stressing that in light of the rights and interests of the Turkish community, ABTTF is naturally reacting to statements that are targeting it.
ABTTF, which sent the warning letter to Stylianidis and the three aforementioned organisations, requested that the audio-visual material of the interview that Stylianidis charged against ABTTF be withdrawn and any statement referring to ABTTF directly or indirectly to be removed from the web pages. Moreover, ABTTF requested from the press and media organisations to publish through a press statement or any other suitable way the warning letter that it sent to them and called upon them not to repeat this or similar situations in the future.