ABTTF brought the issue of non-execution of ECtHR judgements related to the associations of the Turkish community in Western Thrace by Greece to the agenda
Federation of Western Thrace Turks in Europe (ABTTF) presented a written statement with the title “Restricting legislation threatening the freedom of association in Greece and problem of non-execution of ECtHR judgements regarding the Turkish community in Western Thrace” to the 40th ordinary session of United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council held on 25 February-22 March 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland. In its written statement, ABTTF emphasized that associations with “Turkish” name were closed and new ones were not allowed to be established and noted Greece breaches the freedom of association of the Turkish community in Western Thrace despite the judgements made by the European Court of Human Rights in three cases against Greece.
Greece insistently does not implement the judgements of ECtHR
ABTTF noted that Xanthi Turkish Union (İTB), the first association of the Turkish community in Western Thrace which was shut down because of the word “Turkish” in its name and Cultural Association of Turkish Women in the Prefecture of Rodopi and Evros Minority Youth Association of which their applications were declared inadmissible had lodged appeal to the ECtHR. ABTTF stated ECtHR found the three associations right and adjudicated that Greece breaches the article 11 of European Convention on Human Rights regarding the freedom of association. ABTTF underscored, despite that 10 years have passed ECtHR judgements regarding the three associations of the Turkish community in Western Thrace were not executed and conveyed that Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe supervises the execution of the said judgements of the ECtHR under the name “Bekir Ousta group” and follows closely the ongoing legal process at the Greek national courts.
ABTTF drew the attention that judgements of ECtHR related to the Western Thrace Turkish associations were made impossible to be executed as per the new restrictions foreseen by the law 4491/7107 adopted in October 2017 by the Greek Parliament and indicated main objective of this law is not to permit the establishment of associations with “Turkish” name in Greece. ABTTF stated, following the adoption of the law in subject, the appeal made by Xanthi Turkish Union for the return of its official identity was rejected by the Court of Appeal of Thrace, thereupon the association applied to the Greek Supreme Court however the date of the hearing has not yet been announced. Besides, ABTTF reported Cultural Association of Turkish Women in the Prefecture of Rodopi and Evros Minority Youth Association have appealed to the Court of Appeal of Thrace for the nullification of previous judgements of the court and these cases would be heard on 30 October 2019.
ABBTF underlined that currently there is no association in Western Thrace which bear the word “Turkish” in its name. ABTTF noted, the Cultural Association of Turkish Women in the Prefecture of Xanthi was first refused registration by the domestic court, then by the Court of Appeal of Thrace, and finally by the Supreme Court noting that the association’s title was considered misleading and hence ABTTF called on Greece to take all necessary measures immediately in its national law regarding the execution of ECtHR judgements and respect the freedom of association of the Turkish community in Western Thrace.
You may access the written statement of ABTTF presented to UN Human Rights Council at the following link https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G19/040/46/PDF/G1904046.pdf?OpenElement