No: 269, 2 August 2021, Press Release Regarding The Closing Of 12 More Primary Schools Belonging To The Turkish Muslim Minority In Western Thrace By Greece

Republic Of Turkey Ministry Of Foreign Affairs 02.08.2021

We condemn Greece's decision to close 12 more primary schools belonging to the Turkish Muslim Minority in Western Thrace, with the pretexts of austerity measures and insufficient number of students.

With this latest decision, more than a half of the Minority primary schools has been closed, bringing the number of schools down to 103. Thus, Greece's policy to close primary schools belonging to the Turkish Muslim Minority in Western Thrace through "temporary suspension" has proven to be systematic.

On the other hand, it has been clear that Minority schools have been discriminated by being excluded from many clauses of a recent legislation made in Greece regarding schools.

The aforementioned decisions, which breach the provisions of the Lausanne Peace Treaty, are another indication of the repercussions in the field of education of the assimilation and oppression policies implemented for decades against the Turkish Minority in Western Thrace.

While Greece closes primary schools with the pretext of insufficient number of students, it ignores, on the other hand, the demands for opening new Minority secondary/high schools despite the obvious need, and violates the education rights of Minority children with various pretexts.

We invite Greece to put an end to its discriminatory policy towards Minority schools, as it is well seen in the latest legal regulations.

The international community should no more be a mere spectator of the systematic violation of human rights in a member state of the European Union and the Council of Europe.

Turkey will continue to support the Minority's struggle for its rights and justice, both in bilateral contacts and international platforms.

Atatürk

Gülsun Erkul Ambassador
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