Spotlight on Greeks of Turkey

Athens yesterday expressed satisfaction at a newspaper report that a Turkish parliamentary committee has acknowledged past state discriminatory policies against Turkey’s Greek minority. Eleftherotypia claimed yesterday that the Turkish National Assembly’s human rights committee, in a session on October 15, was told by a Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman that Ankara «may have infringed [the Greek minority’s] human or minority rights or their rights under the [1923] Lausanne Treaty» during times of bilateral tension, such as 1963 and 1974. «But the State has no such policy nowadays,» he reportedly added. Turkey is notoriously reluctant to own up to human rights abuses concerning its ethnic minorities, of which the Greeks once formed a flourishing part. Atrocities included the 1955 Istanbul pogrom, in which mobs attacked minority homes, looted and destroyed hundreds of shops and killed up to 20 people. «The fact that Turkey directly recognizes this reality, even in retrospect, is positive,» government spokesman Christos Protopappas said yesterday.