Outputs and recommendations achieved at the event which was carried out in two phases as workshop and conference and participated by academics and the experts on bilingual education will be made into a report and submitted to the Greek authorities.
Federation of Western Thrace Turks (ABTTF), Western Thrace Minority University Graduates Association (BTAYTD) and Culture and Education Foundation of Western Thrace Minority (PEKEM) in cooperation with Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN) organized an international workshop and conference on 2 March 2019 with the topic “Bilingual Education: A Minority Issue-Bilingualism in Turkish/Muslim Minority Education and Different Approaches in the World- Problems and Possible Solutions”. Academics, bilingual education experts, educators belonging to the Turkish community in Western Thrace and civil society organizations representatives participated at the workshop and conference held in the city of Komotini. At the event, Prof. Dr. Fernand de Varennes, United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, made a speech as the special guest.
Prior to the workshop and conference, guest academics and experts participated at the cultural programme organized by the host Western Thrace Turkish civil society organizations. As part of the cultural programme, the guests visited Komotini and Xanthi and Western Thrace Turkish villages and met with the representatives of the Turkish community in Western Thrace.
At the workshop, academics and experts expressed their views regarding bilingual education in Western Thrace
In the morning on 2 March 2019, Saturday, representatives of the host civil society organizations organized a two-session workshop with the managers of the Western Thrace Turkish community associations working in the field of education with participation of academics and experts from Turkey, Greece, Germany, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands. At the workshop as the host associations, Dr. Hüseyin Baltacı, President of BTAYTD and Halit Habip Oğlu, President of ABTTF and the partner of the event Gösta Toft, Vice-president of FUEN delivered welcome speeches.
In the first session during which Associate Professor Dr. İbrahim Kelağa Ahmet, Faculty Member of Trakya University, Department of Balkan Languages and Literatures was the moderator and Dr Pervin Hayrullah, Director General of PEKEM was the rapporteur, bilingual minority education model in Western Thrace, current situation, weaknesses and strengths of the model were discussed. And in the second session moderated by Ozan Ahmetoğlu, President of Xanthi Turkish Union, academics, experts and representatives of the civil society organizations conveyed their views and recommendations regarding the development of bilingual minority education system in Western Thrace. At the workshop, Prof. Dr. Fernand de Varennes, United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues made a speech too.
At the conference, importance of mother tongue and bilingual education for the Turkish community in Western Thrace has been underlined
Following the workshop at the conference held open to public in two sessions, on behalf of the organizing institutions Dr. Hüseyin Baltacı, President of BTAYTD and Halit Habip Oğlu, President of ABTTF and Gösta Toft, Vice-president of partner organization FUEN delivered welcome speeches. Opening remarks for the conference were made by Prof. Dr. Fernand de Varennes, United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues.
The first session with the topic “Importance of Mother Tongue and Bilingual Education for National Minorities” moderated by Halit Habip Oğlu, President of ABTTF and in this session
Assist. Prof. Dr. George Mavrommatis from the Department of Education Sciences in Early Childhood at Democritus University of Thrace, Willy Fautre, Director of Human Rights without Frontiers (HRWF) Organization, Prof. Dr. Çiğdem Sağın Şimşek, Head of the Department of Foreign Language Education at Middle East Technical University, Prof. Dr. Thalia Dragona from the Department of Early Childhood Education at National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and Associate Prof. Dr. Elena Antonova Ünlü, Deputy Head of the Department of Translation and Interpretation at Hacettepe University made presentations one each.
In the second session with the topic “How to improve bilingual education system of the Turkish Minority in Western Thrace??” was moderated by Assist. Prof. Dr. Ali Hüseyinoğlu, Faculty Member at Trakya University. In the second session, Dr. Cor van der Meer, Head of Mercator European Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning & Member of the Management Board of Fryske Akademy and Member of Management Board of Fryske Academy, Prof Dr. Anna Frangoudaki from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zeliha Yazıcı, Deputy Head of the Department of Primary Education at Akdeniz University, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nelly Askouni Nelly Askouni from the Department of Early Childhood Education at National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Binnur Genç İlter, Head of the Department of Foreign Language Education at Akdeniz University and Assoc. Prof. Dr. İbrahim Kelağa Ahmet, Member of the Department of Balkan Languages and Literatures Trakya University made speeches.
Closing and evaluation of the conference was made by Prof. Dr. Fernand de Varennes, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues.
The international conference convened academics and experts from Turkey, Greece and Europe and the problems of the Turkish community in Western Thrace experienced in the field of bilingual minority education system were addressed in detail and solution proposals were articulated. At the conference, the audience was composed of Murat Ömeroğlu, Consul General of Komotini of Motherland Republic of Turkey, İbrahim Şerif, President of Western Thrace Turkish Minority Advisory Board (BTTADK) and Virtous Mufti of Komotini, Mustafa Mustafa, Rodopi SYRIZA MP, İlhan Ahmet, Rodopi KINAL MP, Çiğdem Asafoğlu, President of DEB Party, Sami Yusuf, Vice President of ABTTF, Melek Kırmacı Arık, ABTTF International Relations Director, Fatma Ahmetcik, ABTTF International Studies and Lobbying Group Member, presidents and managers of the civil society organizations of the Turkish community in Western Thrace in the region and many educators.