Halit Habip Oğlu: “As ABTTF, we support the struggle and decision on boycott launched by the parents to ensure a better education for their children belonging to the Turkish community in Western Thrace. We believe that the Greek textbook chaos in Turkish minority primary schools certainly should be resolved in line with the demands of the parents and their councillors”
Minority primary schools belonging to the Turkish community in Western Thrace in Greece took the decision to organize a demonstration for demanding education with current Greek textbooks used in public schools instead of simplified Greek textbooks which have been in use for 20 years in Greek curriculum. In line with the decision taken by the parents, in total 30 Turkish minority primary schools consisted of 27 primary schools in Xanthi and 3 in Rodopi continue to protest to resolve the chaos and ambiguity related to Greek textbooks. At the schools where there are protests, the students do not attend the classes and wait in front of the schools.
Greek textbooks prepared within the scope of “Muslim Children Education Programme (PEM)” in 1997 by a team led by Prof. Anna Frangoudaki from University of Athens have been in use at the Turkish minority primary schools in Western Thrace for 20 years. The Turkish community in Western Thrace, in accordance with the principle of equality in education, demands that the textbooks in use at public schools should be also used at the Turkish minority primary schools as of 2018-2019 scholar year by removing the outdated and inadequate Greek textbooks. Recently, the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs in Greece has decided to have education at the Turkish minority primary schools with Greek textbooks used also at public schools, however, it has left the decision up to the Greek teachers serving at those schools regarding which textbooks would be used for the education. Teachers have mostly continued the training with the textbooks prepared in line with the Frangudaki programme while this situation has caused a confusion related to the Greek textbooks in many Turkish minority schools and disrupted the education.
Halit Habip Oğlu, President of the Federation of Western Thrace Turks in Europe (ABTTF), said: “It is clear that Greek textbooks drafted in line with Frangoudaki programme 20 years ago have lost their actuality and remained to be inadequate. Continuing the education with these books at the Turkish minority primary schools in Western Thrace will hinder linguistic and intellectual development of our children and cause them to encounter with difficulties in following stages of their educational life. As ABTTF, we support the decision of struggle and boycott started by the parents and students to ensure that children in Western Thrace Turkish community would receive a better education. We believe that the issue of Greek textbook chaos in Turkish minority primary schools certainly should be resolved in line with the demands of the parents and their councillors. We expect from our country Greece that it puts an end to the unilateral policies and decisions undermining the autonomous minority education system by fully respecting the autonomous education system of the Turkish community in Western Thrace which guaranteed by the bilateral and international agreements.”