The Federation of Western Thrace Turks in Europe (ABTTF), representing the Turkish community in Western Thrace, attended the 67th Congress of the Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN) on 7-10 September 2023.
ABTTF President and FUEN Working Group of Turkic Minorities/Communities (TAG) Spokesman Halit Habip Oğlu and ABTTF Vice President and FUEN Vice President Nabi Ibrahimcik were in Pécs/Fünfkirchen/Pečuh, Hungary for the 67th edition of the Congress, which is the largest meeting uniting national minorities and linguistic communities living in Europe under the same roof.
The German minority in Hungary was the host of this year’s Congress, which was attended by approximately 200 people from 26 countries and 50 member organisations. At the Congress, where the situation of German and other minorities in Hungary was discussed in a broad framework with panel sessions and visits to local minority educational institutions, the current developments with respect to the minority policies in Europe were assessed. In his speech at the Congress, FUEN President and Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Loránt Vincze indicated that Hungary has an important place in the history of FUEN because the first congress after the fall of the Iron Curtain was held in Budapest and that with this congress, FUEN was able to expand to Central and Eastern Europe. Noting that FUEN has become the largest minority rights defender organisation in Europe, Vincze further added that FUEN is now a leading organisation for European and international organisations.
FUEN’s activities in 2023 were evaluated at the FUEN Assembly of Delegates
FUEN’s activities in 2023 were discussed at the FUEN Assembly of Delegates held on Saturday, 9 September. In this context, ABTTF Vice President Nabi İbrahimcik, in his quality as FUEN Vice President, and ABTTF President Halit Habip Oğlu, in his quality as FUEN TAG Spokesman, informed the delegates about the activities realised in 2023.
FUEN calls on Europe to strengthen mechanisms for the protection of national minorities
At the Assembly of Delegates, where draft resolutions submitted by the member organisations were discussed and voted on, the attention was drawn to the need to protect the national minorities in Ukraine as the main resolution of the FUEN Congress. In the second part of the resolution, it was requested to strengthen the mechanisms between policymakers and national minorities throughout Europe with a broad perspective and to establish a permanent advisory body, especially under the auspices of the European Parliament.
The issues of the Western Thrace Turks and the Turks in Rhodes and Kos were tackled at the agenda of FUEN
At the FUEN Assembly of Delegates, where ten resolutions were voted on, the draft resolution submitted jointly by the Western Thrace Turkish delegation composed of ABTTF, WTMUGA and the FEP Party representing the Turkish community in Western Thrace was also adopted. In the resolution, examples regarding the othering and stigma of the Turkish community in Western Thrace in politics and media after the first general elections held in Greece on 21 May 2023 were cited, and it was demanded that the structural and systematic discrimination caused by the marginalisation and stigmatisation of Western Thrace Turks be ended. In the resolution, which demanded respect for the free will and right to vote of the voters belonging to the Turkish community in Western Thrace, it was demanded from Greece to prevent the spread of hate speech in politics and media.
The resolution presented by FUEN member Rhodes, Kos and the Dodecanese Turks Culture and Solidarity Association (ROISDER) was also adopted at the Congress. In the resolution, it was requested from Greece to acknowledge the Muslim-Turkish presence in Rhodes and Kos, to reopen schools with bilingual education and to stop the destruction of mosques, tombs and cemeteries.
Five more organisations joined the FUEN family
As a result of the voting in the Assembly of Delegates, Bretons from France, Germans from Switzerland, Rusyns from Hungary, and German organisations from Serbia joined the FUEN family. In addition, the Friuli Philological Society from the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of Italy joined FUEN as a new member organisation with a supporting member status.
The 2024 FUEN Congress will be held in Germany
With the decision taken by the Assembly of Delegates, the 2024 FUEN Congress will be held in Husum/Hüsem, Germany, hosted by the Northern Frisians on 19-22 September 2024.