ABTTF President: “The article of Stylianidis in Estia is actually a summary of the overview of state and representative governments and politics regarding the Turkish community in Western Thrace in Greece. This mentality is the obstacle with respect to the denial of the status and rights of the Turkish community in Western Thrace and not executing the judgments pertaining to the Bekir-Ousta and Others group of cases”
Rodopi New Democracy Party (YDP) MP Evripidis Stylianidis commented on the Turkish community in Western Thrace an article published in Estia newspaper on 27 May 2021.
Stylianidis stated that the minority in (Western) Thrace was defined as a ‘religious’ minority by the multilateral Treaty of Lausanne, claiming that Turkey was using the minority as a tool and aimed to redefine it collectively as a ‘national Turkish minority’. Stylianidis added that Turkey is hiding behind the European Court of Human Rights' (ECtHR) judgment regarding the Xanthi Turkish Union, noting that the Greek side failed to make the necessary defence in this case and was ultimately convicted for not respecting freedom of association. Stylianidis suggested that the main reason Greek justice banned the association was that the definition of ‘Turk’ conflicted with the Treaty of Lausanne and could be used indirectly for the ‘collective identification of the minority’. Moreover, Stylianidis also claimed in his article that Greece has managed to create an exemplary open and democratic society in (Western) Thrace that fully respects human and minority rights and prioritizes religious freedom, as he has repeatedly indicated in the past.
Halit Habip Oğlu, President of the Federation of Western Thrace Turks in Europe (ABTTF) made the following statement: “The article of Stylianidis in Estia is actually a summary of the overview of state and representative governments and politics regarding the Turkish community in Western Thrace in Greece. Indeed, Stylianidis reflects the official view of the state regarding the reasons for the recognition of a Muslim minority on a religious basis, not an ethnic Turkish minority, in Thrace with the 1923 Lausanne Peace Treaty. At this point, I would like to ask the following: Why do state and representative governments that reject the ethnic Turkish identity of the Turkish community in Western Thrace, citing the Lausanne Peace Treaty, are not using the definition of non-Muslim minority for with respect to Turkey's Orthodox Greek minority? In addition, the same state and representative governments see no problem in violating the Lausanne while destroying the autonomous structure with respect to education and religion of our community with the Treaty of Lausanne, which they say they are firmly committed to. In addition, Stylianidis claims in his article and in every statement that Greece has managed to create an open democratic society model in Thrace that fully respects the rights of people and minorities. However, it is obvious that this is not the case in reality. Moreover, although Stylianidis is a professor in Law and a member of PACE, it is clear with respect to the Bekir-Ousta and Others group of cases that the banning of the activity of the Xanthi Turkish Union, our oldest association in Western Thrace, is based on the possibility of indirect use of the Minority for the collective identification of the Minority, not the exercise of the right to freedom of association! This mentality is the obstacle with respect to the denial of the status and rights of the Turkish community in Western Thrace and not executing the judgments pertaining to the Bekir-Ousta and Others group of cases”