MINELRES: ABTTF News: Victory of Western Thrace Turkish Minority in ECtHR

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Mon Oct 22 19:25:13 2007

Original sender: ABTTF <news@abttf.org>

Press Release 

Victory of Western Thrace Turkish Minority 
European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) convicted Greece for the suit that
was filed by Evros Minority Youth Association. ECHR decided that Greece
had violated ‘‘Article 11’’ which regulates freedom of organization and
association. Hasan Bekir Usta had applied to ECHR in 1996 right after
the Greek court closed Evros Minority Youth Association due to
association’s establishment objective. Meanwhile, Evros Administrative
Court did not permit the establishment of the association by reason that
Treaty of Lausanne described Western Thrace Turkish minority as Muslim
Minority rather than Turkish Minority. 

ECHR concluded the file on 11 October 2007, stating that the association
was closed even before its activities were observed, as a sign of
prejudiced opinions of Greek authorities against Turkish associations.
In its reasoned statement, ECHR clearly stated that “Associations’
conditions of establishment do not imply any kind of violence and threat
against democratic society.” 

The concerning judgement is available under the following link: 

The significance of the decision lies in the fact that this decision
will be a good example for other Western Thrace Turkish minority
association cases (Iskece (Xanthi) Turkish Solidarity Union, Western
Thrace Teachers Association, Rodop Women’ Association) which hang on

With that decision of ECHR, it is the first time that Greece is
convicted in a suit that was filed by a Western Thrace Turkish Minority. 

Following the decision of ECHR, Greek courts’ decisions that ban the
Turkish Association due to their Turkish names might fall void.
Additionally, experts claim that Greek authorities may have to recognize
“Turkish Minority” definition from now on. 

Another noteworthy feature of this event is that it was an unanimous
decision, signalling the support of ECHR for the Western Thrace Turkish
Minority. Meanwhile, it is clear that Greek and Greek Cypriot judges
voted in favour of Western Thrace. 

Justice at last…

“…Justice at last…Even Greek and Greek Cypriot judges at ECHR voted in
favour of Western Thrace Turks, and ECHR decision constitutes an example
for the other cases of Western Thrace Associations. ECHR accepted that
Greek courts violate ‘‘Article 11’’ which regulates freedom of
organization and association of minorities. That decision must pave the
way for the recognition of Turkish identity by Greek authorities.”
stated Halit Habipoglu, chairman of Federation of Western Thrace Turks
in Europe (ABTTF). 

Habipoglu underlined that ABTTF exerted great effort at every
international platform to protect the rights of Turkish minority in
Western Thrace, adding that endless efforts of ABTTF began to give
fruits at last. Meanwhile, experts underline that this decision will
force Greece to give back the rights of Western Thrace Turkish minority
also recognizing the Turkish identity in Western Thrace. 




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