Turkey expects Greece to register Turkish minority NGOs
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Turkey called on Greece to register the NGOs of the Turkish Minority of Western Thrace without discrimination, referring to a recent Greek court decision regarding the rejection of the application for the re-registration of the Xanthi Turkish Union.
“We expect from Greece to register the NGOs of the Turkish Minority of Western Thrace without discrimination and make arrangements that will enable the application of ECHR rulings,” Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hami Aksoy said in a written statement on July 11.
Aksoy said the Xanthi Turkish Union, one of the prominent NGOs of the Turkish Minority of Western Thrace had been banned by the Greek authorities on the pretext that the word “Turkish” was in its name.
After this incident, as a result of the judicial initiatives of Xanthi Turkish Union, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that the right to the association was violated and invited Greece to make necessary arrangements, Aksoy added.
“In this context, for the application of the decisions of the ECHR, the Greek Parliament adopted a legislation in 2017 that enabled the banned associations to apply for re-registration,” Aksoy said.
However, the legislation included major exceptions for the acceptance of these applications, he added.
As a matter of fact, the application of the Xanthi Turkish Union for re-registration has been rejected by a regional court of appeals in Greece,” Aksoy said.
He added that the decision of the court demonstrates that the legislation adopted by the Greek Parliament is not enough for the realization of the right to association.
Greece had closed several associations in Western Thrace because they had the word “Turkish” in their names. Although the ECHR convicted Greece regarding this matter, Greece does not implement the ECHR verdict on the issue.
The Western Thrace region of Greece is home to a Muslim Turkish minority of around 150,000 people.