Qa-1, 19 January 2021, Statement Of The Spokesperson Of Ministry Of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Hami Aksoy In Response To A Question Regarding The Statements Of The Greek Foreign Minister Dendias About The Greek Minority In Our Country

Republic Of Turkey Ministry Of Foreign Affairs 19.01.2021

It is tragicomic for the Minister of Foreign Affairs of a country that has been sentenced three times by the European Court of Human Rights due to its assimilation and repression policies implemented against the Turkish Minority in Western Thrace, criticizing our country regarding the minorities.

Many constructive steps towards the resolution of the problems of the Greek Orthodox Minority have been taken in our country in recent years, in coordination with our Greek Orthodox citizens. Whereas in Greece, an EU member that refers to itself as the cradle of democracy, there is a regressive practice, let alone a progress regarding the resolution of the problems of the Turkish Minority in Western Thrace.

Greece insistently violates the rights of the Turkish Minority in Western Thrace, which have been granted by the Lausanne Treaty and other multilateral agreements, and still refrains from implementing the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights regarding the denial of the Turkish identity. Recent practices concerning the madrasahs in Western Thrace show that not only the expression "Turkish" but even the expression "minority" is no more tolerated in Greece.

While Turkey has opened schools in Gökçeada for only four students in response to the demands of its Greek Orthodox citizens, Greece continues to shut down minority schools in Western Thrace. The decrease in the number of the minority schools in Western Thrace from 231 to 115 in the last 25 years constitutes the most concrete example of the difference between the two countries' attitudes towards minorities. Before making such calamitous statements, the Greek Foreign Minister should first look into a mirror and sweep around his own front door.

Greece should solve the problems of the Turkish Minority in Western Thrace, especially regarding issues like religious freedoms, denial of the Turkish identity and education, in dialogue with the Turkish Muslim Minority, by following the example of the constructive steps that our country has taken towards minorities.

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