MINELRES: Western Thrace Turkish Minority at the OSCE Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting

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Sat Jul 18 15:42:22 2009

Original sender: ABTTF <news@abttf.org>

Press Release
Western Thrace Turkish Minority members attended the OSCE Supplementary
Human Dimension Meeting

Federation of Western Thrace Turks in Europe (ABTTF) attended the
Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting of the Organization for Security
and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) between 9 and 10 July, 2009. Fatma
Resit, member of International Affairs and Lobbying Group of ABTTF and
Pervin Hayrullah, member of the Western Thrace Minority University
Graduates Association represented the Turkish Minority of Western Thrace
at the meeting.  

In addition to 56 OSCE member countries, 112 non-governmental
organizations attended the meeting that lasted 2 days. Focuses of the
meeting were the “from commitments to implementation: freedom of
religion or belief in OSCE area”, “status of religious or belief
communities” and “places of worship”.

Problem of Muftis and “Appointed Imams Law”

Ms. Hayrullah took the floor at the opening session and stated that
members of the Muslim Turkish minority of Western Thrace have the right
to decide whether to choose the Sharia Law or Greek Civil Law regarding
the family and inheritance issues, yet Mufti’s judicial decisions do not
take into effect unless approved by competent Greek Courts. 

At the second session on status of religious or belief communities on
July 10th, Ms. Resit, clearly stated that states should in no way
intervene to any matters regarding issues of faith, belief, or the
organization of a religious group. Thus, Ms. Resit stated that the Law
3536/2007 envisaging appointment of 240 imams to serve as public
servants for the appointed muftis of Komotini, Xanthi and Dimetoka
clearly violated “freedom of religion and belief” of the Turkish
Minority of Western Thrace. 

Mosques and the height of minarets

At the last session of the meeting on places of worship, Ms. Resit said
that although the Greek Constitution guaranteed freedom of religion and
belief, there was neither appropriate place for exercising religious
activities nor graveyard in Athens where more than 300.000 Muslims live.
Ms. Resit expressed that Western Thrace Turkish Minority faced serious
problems in restoring and building mosques, adding that height of
minarets was another source of conflict. Furthermore, she drew attention
to the problems the Turkish Minority living in Rhodes and Kos islands
face when practicing their religion, and noted that only one of the
still existing 12 mosques in Rhodes was open for religious services. 
Regarding the places of worship, Ms. Hayrullah analyzed the problem of
the height of minarets from a historical perspective stating that
mosques in Demirbeyli, Kalenderkoy and Sirkeli villages in Western
Thrace had minaret building problems. 


ABTTF, Federation of Western Thrace Turks in Europe

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58454 Witten
Tel.: +49 (0) 2302 /
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E-Mail: news@abttf.org
Homepage: www.abttf.org

NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council
of the United Nations 
Member of the Fundamental Rights Platform (FRP) of the European Union
Agency for Fundamental Rights
Member of the Federal Union of European Nationalities

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