Council of Europe criticizes Greece for violating Turkish minority’s rights

by on 12 December 2018

A top European body criticized Greece for not implementing European Court of Human Rights’ (ECtHR) verdicts on the country for closing associations of its Turkish minority.

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe’s decisions, published yesterday, said 10 years after the ECtHR’s judgments, two of the present associations remain unregistered and one dissolved.

The rulings recalled that “these cases concern violations of the right to freedom of association.”

Greece had closed several associations in Western Thrace because they had the word “Turkish” in their names. Although the ECtHR convicted Greece regarding this matter, Greece has not heeded the ECtHR verdicts on the issue. Greece refuses to recognize that there is a Turkish minority in Greece and recognizes it only with its religious denomination, as a Muslim minority. The Western Thrace region of Greece is home to a Muslim Turkish minority of around 150,000 people.

Authorities in Greece were invited to “rapidly take all necessary measures so the applicants’ cases are examined by the domestic courts,” and keeping the committee informed of all relevant developments. The rulings called on the authorities to provide regular information about further developments in all the ongoing proceedings relating to this group of cases. It was also “noted with deep regret that the registration of another association in the Thrace region was rejected in 2017 by a final judgment of the Court of Cassation on the grounds already criticized by the European Court in its 2008 judgments concerning the present cases.”