Qa-75, 12 August 2020, Statement Of The Spokesperson Of The Ministry Of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Hami Aksoy, In Response To A Question Regarding Greece’s Systematic Policy Of Closing The Primary Schools Of The Turkish Minority In Western Thrace

Republic Of Turkey Ministry Of Foreign Affairs 12.08.2020

Greece has been closing the primary schools that belong to the Turkish Minority in Western Thrace for the last 25 years, under the pretext of austerity measures in the country and lesser number of students, through “temporary suspension”, without consultation with the Minority.

The recent closing of eight additional Minority primary schools has constituted the latest example of this practice. With this latest decision, the number of Turkish Minority primary schools, which has been 231 until 25 years ago, dropped to 115.

This practice by Greece is a part of the assimilation and oppression efforts towards the Turkish Minority Western Thrace. Meanwhile, the EU has been a mere spectator to the systematic violation of human rights in a member country.

We ask Greece to cease its systematic policy, which is not compatible with the Lausanne Peace Treaty, hindering the education of the children of the Minority, and reopen the schools it has closed.

In this regard, we support the reactions of the institutions and the establishments of the Turkish Minority in Western Thrace, and bring this issue to the consideration of the international human rights organizations.

Our initiatives toward the Greek authorities aiming to solve the problems concerning the education of the Turkish Minority in Western Thrace in accordance with the principle of reciprocity founded by the Lausanne Peace Treaty, will continue unabated.

Elif Çomoğlu Ülgen Ambassador
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