The hosts of the meeting, the Western Thrace Turkish delegation, consisting of the representatives from ABTTF, FEP Party and WTMUGA, conveyed the current issues of the Turkish community in Western Thrace.
The 9th annual meeting of the Working Group of Turkic Minorities/Communities within the Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN) (TAG), the umbrella organisation of national and autochthonous minorities in Europe, was hosted by the Turkish community in Western Thrace and held in Western Thrace, Greece on 1-4 November 2023.
ABTTF President and FUEN TAG Spokesman Halit Habip Oğlu, ABTTF Vice President and FUEN Vice President Nabi Ibrahimcik attended the meeting organised jointly with the Friendship Equality Peace (FEP) Party and the Western Thrace Minority University Graduates Association (WTMUGA) under the coordination of the Federation of Western Thrace Turks in Europe (ABTTF). Moreover, ABTTF Vice President Mustafa Kasap and ABTTF International Relations Director Melek Kırmacı Arık and Deniz Servantie from the ABTTF Brussels Office also attended the meetings on behalf of the FUEN TAG Secretariat.
Representatives of Turkic minorities and communities came together at the meeting
Representatives from ten Turkic organisations from eight different European countries attended the meeting, which brought together Turkic minorities and communities living in a wide geography from the Balkans to the Caucasus. ABTTF, FEP Party and WTMUGA, representing the Turkish community in Western Thrace; the Public Organisation of Meskhetian Turks “VATAN” representing the Meskhetian Turks; the Kosovo Youth Union Association representing the Turks in Kosovo; the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People representing the Crimean Tatars (QTMM); the Tatar Democratic Union representing the Romanian Tatars; Kırcaali Turkish Culture and Art Association (TÜRKSAD) representing the Turks in Bulgaria; the Ukrainian Gagauz Union representing the Ukrainian Gagauz people and ‘‘Meras’’ Association, which protects and develops the Gagauz Language and Culture, representing the Gagauz people in Moldova all attended the meetings.
Participants had the opportunity to get to know the Turkish community in Western Thrace and the Western Thrace region closely
Within the framework of the cultural and visit programme hosted by ABTTF, FEP Party and WTMUGA, the participants were received by Aykut Ünal, Consul General of the Republic of Türkiye in Komotini, in the garden of the Consulate General on Thursday, 2 November.
Following the meeting with Consul General Ünal, the participants visited the Office of the Elected Mufti of Komotini, FEP Party Headquarters, WTMUGA Headquarters, Western Thrace Minority Culture and Education Company (PEKEM), Komotini Turkish Youth Union (GTGB) and the Western Thrace Turkish Teachers Union (BTTÖB). The participants, who were informed about the activities and works of the institutions and organisations in question during the visits, thus gathered the chance to examine the issues of the Turkish community in Western Thrace on site.
Following the visits, the participants visited Komotini city centre accompanied by a guide and attended a cultural night event hosted by GTGB in the evening. At the night, BTTÖB Turkish Classical Music Choir delivered a special concert to the participants.
A common road map for 2024 was constituted with the opinions and suggestions of the participants
The participants, who travelled Komotini to Xanthi on Friday, 3 November, first met with the Elected Mufti of Xanthi Mustafa Trampa, and later visited the Xanthi Turkish Union (ITB). During the meetings, the issues faced by the Turkish community in Western Thrace in the field of freedom of religion and freedom of association were discussed, and participants were informed about ITB’s 40-year long struggle for their rights and justice.
At the 9th Annual Meeting of FUEN TAG held at WTMUGA Xanthi Cultural Centre in the afternoon, FUEN TAG Spokesman Halit Habip Oğlu and FUEN Vice President Nabi Ibrahimcik gave information with respect to the latest developments in FUEN and FUEN TAG in the last year.
At the meeting, representatives of the host Western Thrace Turks, Meskhetian Turks, Kosovo Turks, Bulgarian Turks, Crimean Tatars, Romanian Tatars, Ukrainian Gagauz and Moldovan Gagauz conveyed the issues of the Turkic minorities and communities they belong to and the activities of the organisations they represent.
After the meeting, the participants came together at the cultural night hosted by ITB, and the ITB Turkish Classical Music Choir delivered a concert in the evening.