The Association of Constantinople Expatriates sent a caustic open letter to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saying that Ankara violates the rights of Greeks in Turkey, and that Thrace Muslims are respected by the Greek government.
The letter came after the remarks made by the Turkish president during and after his visit to Greece, and the Muslim minority of Western Thrace, a group that Ankara calls “Turkish minority”, when in fact they are Greek citizens.
In the letter the association accuses Turkey of the repressive measures and prosecutions suffered by the Greek minority of Constantinople over time.
It speaks of the beatings Greeks suffered for speaking their native tongue, and the signs put on Greek stores by Turkish authorities urging Turks not to shop there.
Also, the association speaks of the removal of all signs in the Greek language that hang in Greek monuments and institutions in Constantinople. Furthermore, it speaks about New Greek language lessons being removed from high school curricula.
On the Muslim minority issue, the association “reminds” Erdogan that they are not all Turks, because among them there are Pomaks and Roma, and that the judgment of the European Court of Justice refers to the individual right of self-determination rather than a group right.
In regards to the demand raised by the Turkish president to “update” the Treaty of Lausanne in order to protect the so-called Turkish minority, the association says that it is Turkey that does not respect the treaty, as Ankara unilaterally abolished articles for the Greeks of Constantinople, Imbros and Tenedos.
Ankara also deported a large part of the Greeks of Constantinople who remained there under the Population Exchange article of the Treaty of Lausanne, and “violated the rights of all Greeks who remained in Turkey in the most brutal manner, exerting unprecedented persecutions and extorting measures, culminating in the pogrom of 1955, and the expulsions of 1964.”
“The consequence of all this,” the letter continues, “is the dramatic shrinking of 98% of the Greek population in Turkey, while the Muslim population Greek Thrace increased more than 50% under a democratic regime that guarantees and assures full freedom for the citizens of the Greek Republic in the European Union.”
And the letter concludes: “Mr President, the desirable and peaceful coexistence and cooperation of Greece and Turkey, as well as the safeguarding of the rights of the Greek minority in Turkey, requires respect from you, not circumvention of International Law.”
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