Batı Trakya

ABTTF attended the OSCE Human Dimension Seminar


The Federation of Western Thrace Turks in Europe (ABTTF) participated in the Human Dimension Seminar entitled “Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Girls” organised by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on 16-17 November 2021. Deniz Servantie from ABTTF Brussels Office participated in the seminar which took place in a hybrid format.

Starting with the opening speeches of OSCE/ODIHR Director Matteo Meccaci and Permanent Representative of Sweden to the OSCE Chairperson of OSCE Ulrike Fulnered, the relevant OSCE commitments and the implementation of international human rights standards to prevent violence against women and girls which constitutes a serious violation of human rights were discussed during the seminar. 

Intervening in the second working group of the seminar entitled “Violence against women in political and public life”, ABTTF stated that the Cultural Association of Turkish Women of Rodopi, founded by women from the Turkish community in Western Thrace, and the Cultural Association of Turkish Women of Xanthi are still not registered by national courts, noting that Greece has not yet executed the 2008 judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) regarding the Cultural Association of Turkish Women of Rodopi which was established in 2001. ABTTF underscored that as a result of the non-registration of the abovementioned associations on grounds of the word ‘Turkish’ in their names, Western Thrace Turkish women living in the region faced an obstacle in their participation to public life. ABTTF called on Greek authorities to provide equal opportunities for all citizens, regardless of ethnic or religious identity and gender.

Using its right of reply, the Permanent Representation of Greece to the OSCE reiterated the Greek state’s official view regarding the Turkish community in Western Thrace, indicating that Greece recognises only a “Muslim minority” in Western Thrace and that freedom of association is protected by the Greek constitution.