The European Free Alliance (EFA) and Centre Maurits Coppieters took part in an international delegation upon the invitation of the European Federation of West Thrace Turks (ABTTF) for a fact finding mission in W.Thrace, Greece. The main goal of the visit, which took place from the 21st to the 25th of September, was to assess the situation of the Turkish minority and highlight the severe human rights violations it is currently sustaining.
EFA Vice President and Coppieters Treasurer Miguel Martinez Tomey, together with MEPs Nils Torvalds and Pal Csaky and representatives of international NGOs, had the opportunity to meet with EFA member party DEB and various other organizations to get in-depth information about the problems Greek citizens of Turkish origin face: To name a few, Greece still refuses to register organizations that bear the word “Turkish” in their name, unilaterally appoints the minority’s religious leaders (muftis) instead of encouraging their democratic election and intervenes enormously when it comes to issues related to language, minority education and property.
“It has been said many times in the past, but this is a situation unworthy of a civilized country, a member of the EU. Greece should finally listen to the demands of its Turkish minority in an open and constructive manner and stop avoiding any kind of dialogue. We are talking about peaceful Greek citizens who just wish to claim their human rights, nothing more and nothing less, and it is very sad to see them caught in the everlasting political saga between Athens and Ankara,” highlights Miguel Martinez Tomey.
He and the other members of the international delegation will draft a report that will be presented to the Greek authorities and the European Parliament in the spring of 2017.