Turkey denounces Greek court’s rejection of ‘Turkish Union of Xanthi’


Turkey criticized Greece on Thursday over a Greek appeals court decision to reject an application by the Turkish Union of Xanthi to register as a local association, due to the use of the word "Turkish."

The Union had appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) which ruled in favour of their case, arguing that Greece had violated the right to association by not allowing the Union to register.

To implement the decisions of the ECHR, the Greek Parliament adopted a legislation in 2017 that enabled the banned associations to apply for re-registration, but included major exceptions, the turkish foreign ministry says.

“The decision of the court demonstrates that the legislation adopted by the Greek Parliament is not enough for the realisation of the right to association,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement issued on Thursday.

“We expect from Greece to register the NGOs of the Turkish Minority of Western Thrace without discrimination and make arrangements that will enable the application of ECHR rulings."

Greece only recognises a Muslim minority in the country which mainly resides in Western Thrace. 

Under the Lausanne treaty signed in 1923 between Greece and Turkey, Muslims are defined by their religion and not their ethnicity.