Halit Habip Oğlu, President of ABTTF: “Repeating our demand for bilingual minority kindergartens, we ask Greece to provide solutions for current problems through a dialogue with the Turkish community in Western Thrace to establish a qualified bilingual minority education system”
Following the proclamation of 21st February as International Mother Tongue Day by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), since 2000, various events are being organized worldwide to encourage linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.
By drawing attention to the fact that 43 languages out of 600 spoken in the world are endangered and languages have a complex influence on identity, social integration, education and development, UNESCO states that cultural diversity will also become extinct if languages become extinct. UNESCO indicates that languages are the most effective instruments in preserving and developing tangible and intangible heritage. It also points out that beyond encouraging linguistic diversity and multilingual education through protection and promotion of languages, preserving and promotion of languages would also develop a conscious of solidarity based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue.
UNESCO calls the attention to the linguistic diversity and indicates that 40% of the population in the world has no opportunity to have an education in the language they speak or understand. UNESCO states, it has been understood that the mother tongue-based multilingual education system has an increasing importance in the early education and participation to social life and emphasizes that the sustainable preservation and transmission of traditional conscious and cultures could be through the languages hence the multilingual and multicultural communities could exist.
Halit Habip Oğlu, President of Federation of Western Thrace Turks in Europe (ABTTF) made the following explanation “I congratulate 21st February, International Mother Tongue Day of Western Thrace Turks! Even though UNESCO calls attention to the mother tongue-based education models including early education in participation to social life, Greece keeps ignoring the demand for bilingual minority kindergartens by disregarding education in mother tongue in the preschool education. Besides, instead of establishing a qualified minority education system where the mother tongue, Turkish, and language of the country, Greek, are taught in the best way to create a multilingual and multicultural community in real terms, , in addition to the decrease in the number of the schools, Greece turns a deaf ear to the demands for increasing the quality in minority schools and reduces the number Turkish lessons in religious schools. I call on our country Greece, once again, to respect the right of education in mother tongue of Western Thrace Turks and produce solutions for current problems through a dialogue with the Turkish community in Western Thrace for a qualified minority education system”.