Turks in Greece celebrate Turkish news bulletin

The ethnic Turks of Western Thrace are celebrating the first Turkish language news bulletin which has started to be broadcast on local Channel 6.

Turks in Greece celebrate Turkish news bulletin

World Bulletin / News Desk

A local Greek channel's decision to launch a new Turkish news bulletin in the Western Thrace region of Greece, is an encouraging development for Turkish people who live in the region and raising hopes that their Turkish identity will be recognised.

Turkish politician Huseyin Zeybek, from leftist opposition party Syriza, says it is an “encouraging move,” that should be an example to Greek government institutions.

“The same steps should be taken by the Greek government, in the future recognition of the Turkish national identity,” Zeybek, told Anadolu Agency.

Greek local Channel 6, based in the mostly Turkish-populated Iskece (Xanthi) city in Western Thrace, started broadcasting in Turkish from January 20, making it the only channel to do so in Greece after a Turkish radio station closed down two years ago.

It is not yet certain whether the channel will be able to use the word “Turk,” which is politically sensitive in Greece.

“The most important problem is the denial of Turkish identity. The channel’s initiative is a landmark in terms of breaking this,” said Taner Mustafaoglu, the head of the Turkey-based Western Thrace Turks Solidarity Association.

He said that the Greek channel's move is an open refutation of Greek stance that denies there is a Turkish presence in Western Thrace.

The association was founded by Turkish minority who lost all of their rights as Greek citizens in the now-repealed Article 19 of Greek Nationality Code. The article, which revoked the citizenship of “non-ethnic Greeks” unilaterally between 1959 and 1998, has deprived a total of 60,000 Western Thrace Turks of Greek citizenship.

A number of other discriminatory measures were also enacted in the past, such as illegall expropriation of land held by Turks, denial of driver licenses, ban on running shops or restoring their houses. Currently, they are provided with their economic and individual rights, but discrimination of Turks on an ethnic community base still continue, Western Thrace Turks say.

The “240 Imam Law” adopted in parliament in early 2012 envisages the nomination of Turkish religious head officials by a committee formed by the Greek government, who would give Greek-language religious education to Turkish students. The move is seen as countering the freedom of religion entitled to minorities under the international 1923 Lausanne Treaty. Turkey also officially defined the law as “regrettable”.

Last Mod: 27 Ocak 2014, 09:34
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