The Turkish minority living in Western Thrace held demonstrations to protest the Greek government’s delay of elections to choose community boards in minority schools in Komotini (Gümülcine) and Xanthi (Iskeçe).
Parents participated in the protests, organized by the Minority Schools Community Association Tuesday, Anadolu Agency (AA) reported.
They protested the Greek education and religious affairs ministry’s decision to delay the elections, which were scheduled to take place on Dec. 22, 2020, but have been postponed seven times since then due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Protesters demanded immediate solutions to the problems faced by minorities, as they called on authorities to hold the elections or extend the term of the existing board members until the end of 2021.
The parents and board members also presented a joint declaration to education ministry representatives in both cities, highlighting the necessity to ensure that minority schools are administered in line with the demands and expectations of the community.
The Western Thrace Turkish Minority Solidarity Association released a statement in support of the protests, saying that the Greek government’s attitude against the community was unacceptable.
Komotini’s elected mufti Ibrahim Şerif, Movement for Change Party (KINAL)'s Rhodope (Rodop) deputy Ilhan Ahmet and Xanthi deputy Burhan Baran, Syriza’s Xanthi deputy Hüseyin Zeybek, and representatives of various organizations also supported the protests, AA reported.
The Turkish-origin population of Western Thrace was not granted minority status in the Lausanne Peace Treaty that was signed in 1923. Therefore, the Greek government does not recognize the minority’s ethnic identity, arguing that the expression “Turkish minority” is not included in the Lausanne Peace Treaty.
Today, there are approximately 150,000 people of the Muslim Turkish minority that live in Western Thrace.
The number of minority schools closed by the Greek government since 2011 is over 65.
Greece launched an education drive in 2011 to cut costs and started merging schools with low numbers of students, drastically reducing the number of schools from 1,933 to 877. Only last year alone, some 14 schools attended by Turkish minority students were shut down.
Please click to read our informative text prepared pursuant to the Law on the Protection of Personal Data No. 6698 and to get information about the cookies used on our website in accordance with the relevant legislation.
6698 sayılı Kişisel Verilerin Korunması Kanunu uyarınca hazırlanmış aydınlatma metnimizi okumak ve sitemizde ilgili mevzuata uygun olarak kullanılan çerezlerle ilgili bilgi almak için lütfen tıklayınız.