In a written statement by the Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hami Aksoy, , Turkey expressed dissatisfaction over the closure of 8 minority schools in Thrace.
In his statement, Hami Aksoy writes that “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”.
He stressed that “the recent closing of eight additional Minority primary schools has constituted the latest example of this practice”.
The Foreign Ministry representative argued that “the EU has been a mere spectator to the systematic violation of human rights in a member country”, stressing:
“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”.
He noted that Turkey supports the reactions of the institutions and the establishments of the Turkish Minority in Western Thrace, adding that:
“[We] 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”.
The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded promptly with a statement of its own:
“It constitutes at least a paradox, if not a joke, for Turkey to point the finger to Greece regarding the respect of minority rights. History will forever be the most objective witness to the systematic way in which Turkey eliminated all minorities in its territory during the twentieth century. Regarding the educational choices of the Greek State, they are made equally and without discrimination for all Greek citizens, always based solely on the quality of education provided and the interest of students. Specifically for the Muslim minority, we must note that 115 minority primary schools operate in the area, within which the education provided fully guarantees all the rights of the students. By the way, in Constantinople in 1955 there were 54 Greek primary schools, while today only 3. Does the Turkish leadership know why?”, the announcement by the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs notes. /ibna