Turkish minority NGO celebrates 90th year in Greece

by on 17 December 2018

A Turkish minority association in Greece celebrated its 90th foundation anniversary, though shut down by the government for over 30 years due to a name dispute.

Among the associations Greece closed in the Western Thrace because it had the word “Turkish” in their names, the Gumulcine Turkish Youth Union (GTGB) marked its foundation with events held in Greece’s Komotini city, Gumulcine in Turkish, on Sunday.

Speaking at the event, Abdullah Eren, the head of Turkey’s Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities, called for more solidarity between the members of the Turkish minority.

“I promise in my name and in the name of my institution to do whatever we can in order to make the future of Western Thrace better than its past,” Eren stressed.

As the Turkish-Greek relations boost, peace and welfare in Western Thrace will also increase, he said.

Eren said he is also from Western Thrace.

“I think that the Western Thrace minority is the lucky charm of Greece,” Eren said.

Western Thrace region of Greece is home to a Muslim Turkish minority of around 150,000 people.

Also speaking, Greek lawmaker from the ruling Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) party Mustafa Mustafa said GTGB has an important place in the history of the community.

Mustafa congratulated the association for its 90th foundation anniversary and congratulated the current administration for its works.

Although the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) convicted Greece on the name issue, Greece does not implement the ECHR verdicts on it.

Greece refuses to recognize that there is a Turkish minority in Greece and recognizes it only with its religious denomination, as a Muslim minority.

* Fatih Hafiz Mehmet contributed to this story from Ankara

By Mehmet Hatipoglu – aa.com