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Alexis Tsirpas – Western Thrace to revert back to their original toponyms. February 17, 2015

Posted by Yilan in Yunanistan.
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Alexis Tsirpas speaking with local Turkish leaders in the Western Thrace city of Komotini promised that his party Syrzia will look into a draft law to revert back to old Turkish placenames renamed over 65 years ago.

Newly elected Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsirpas was keen on the idea to rename toponyms in Western Thrace to their previous toponyms bearing Turkish names in an effort to boost friendly relations with Turkey which has been pressuring Greece for many years to provide human rights for the Muslim Turkish minority in Greece..

Alexis Tsirpas indicated that he and his Syriza party will back the draft-law for restoring authentic toponyms in Thrace be brought in through Greece’s Legislative parliamentary commission.

A two-third majority is required in order the draft-law on restoring authentic toponyms to be enacted, which means that opposition MPs need to be in favour of the document.

“In the entire region of Bati Trakya (Western Thrace) no one uses the Hellenised name of the municipalities or the other names of places… for us and for our ancestors and future generations it has been and will always be Turkish names such as Gümülcine for Komitini or İskeçe for Xanthi. In 1949 a decision had been reached against the will of the Turks in Western Thrace to change the toponyms. In recent years, the Turkish language is in use thus they are written in Turkish with the Turkish Alphabet,” says former Member of Parliament and ex PASOK MP, Cetin Mandaci.

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Three Turks from Syriza party secure parliamentary seats in Greek elections February 17, 2015

Posted by Yilan in Human rights abuses.
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A man reads headlines reporting the results of the parliamentary elections in Athens, Jan. 26. REUTERS Photo

A man reads headlines reporting the results of the parliamentary elections in Athens, Jan. 26. REUTERS Photo

Three members of the Turkish minority community in Western Thrace have been elected to the Greek parliament, representing the far-left Syriza party that swept the elections on Jan. 25.

While two Greeks of Turkish descent, Mustafa Mustafa and Ayhan Karayusuf, managed to enter parliament from the leftist ranks by earning the most votes in Komotini, another Turkish candidate, Hüsyein Zeybek, won the elections in another Western Thracian province, Xanthi.

All three lawmakers are from Syriza, which has swiftly formed a government in cooperation with the anti-austerity nationalist party, the Independent Greeks.

Turks of Greece overwhelmingly vote for Syriza February 17, 2015

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Turkish and Muslim population of Greece voted overwhelmingly for the radical-left group Syriza in Sunday’s elections and sent three deputies to the Greek Parliament from the Syriza cadres.

Radical-left Syriza (Coalition of the Radical Left – Synaspismos Rizospastikis Aristeras) won Sunday’s elections in Greece by a great margin, and its leader Alexis Tsipras announced the new coalition in less than 24 hours. Along with many Greeks, who were frustrated with the economic crisis and EU-dictated austerity measures, many Turks and Muslim of Western Thrace also voted for Syriza.

In Xanthi (İskeçe) and Rhodope (Rodop) provinces, in which Turkish and Muslim minorities makes up a significant portion of the population, Syriza won the elections by receiving 45 and 48 percent of the votes respectively, well above the national average of 36 percent.

Hüseyin Zeybek from Xanthi (İskeçe) and, Mustafa Mustafa and Ayhan Karayusuf from Rhodopes (Rodop) provinces were elected as representatives of the Turkish community in the Greek Parliament. The Turkish community had also sent three deputies to the parliament in the 2012 elections.

According to the results, Syriza’s votes are higher in rural areas where the Turkish and Muslim populations are the majority. However, in cities and towns, in which the Greeks form the majority, Syriza also received a higher percentage of votes than the national average.

In Xanthi (İskeçe) province, Syriza received 45 percent of the votes. In the city of Xanthi, Syriza received 38 percent of the votes, meanwhile in Abdera municipality, its share increased to 42 percent. In Selero (Gökçeler) village of Abdera, Syriza’s votes were 74 percent. Again in Myki municipality, which is on the Bulgarian border and mainly inhabited by Muslim Pomaks, 69 percent of voters chose Syriza. The Thermes (Ilıca), Kotyli, Myki and Satres communities voted for Syriza respectively by 71, 68, 68 and 79 percent.

In Rhodope (Rodop) province, Syriza received 48 percent of the votes. In the city of Komotini (Gümülcine), in which Turks make up 40 percent of the population, Syriza received 39 percent of the votes. The party won with 32 percent in Aigeiros (Kavaklı) and 46 percent of Neo Sidirochori (Cambaz) villages of Komotini. In Arriana municipality, 65 percent of voters chose Syriza. Organi, Kechros (Mehrikoz) and Fillyra (Sirkeli) communities voted for Syriza respectively by 64, 62 and 65 percent. Iasmos, Amaxades and Sostis (Susurköy) villages voted for Syriza respectively by 48, 72 and 71 in Iasmos municipality. Syriza received 46 percent of the votes in Maroneia-Sapes municipality, with 45 percent of the voters choosing Syriza in Sapes (Şapçı) village.

Karayusuf spoke to German Deutsche Welle Turkish, and said that the Turkish community of Western Thrace have been affected worse than the rest of Greece in the economic crisis.

“Minorities were affected more, as minorities have less government employees and most people are workers or peasants. Eight to ten thousand families make their living through tobacco cultivation. As the support from Europe decreased, these people started having rough times” Karayusuf said.

He also noted that Western Thrace’s Turkish community was suppressed due to its identity, and Syriza was the only party with policies to preserve national identities.

Athens, Newspapers Riled over Turkish Prime Minister’s ‘Minority’ Statement October 4, 2012

Posted by Yilan in Human rights abuses, Thrace, Trakya, Turkey, Yunanistan.
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Greek newspapers have accused Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of provocation after Erdoğan referred to the Turks in western Thrace as the “Turkish minority,” daily Milliyet reported today.

Erdoğan sent a congratulatory message to the Fraternity, Equality and Peace Party (DEP) in Greece to mark the 21st anniversary of the party, which was founded by members of the minority community there.

“Our kin in western Thrace has always had a special place in our hearts,” Erdoğan said in his message. “That is why it is very important that our kin exercises their rights, which have been guaranteed by international agreements, to their full extent.”

“We will always stand by the Turkish minority in western Thrace, as we have done up to this day,” Erdoğan said.

The Turkish prime minister also expressed his hope that the minority in western Thrace and the Greek Orthodox minority in Turkey would serve as “a bridge of friendship” between the two countries.

The Greek Foreign Ministry responded to Erdoğan’s message saying there was no such thing as a “Turkish minority” in the international agreements to which Erdoğan referred in his message.

Greek newspaper Demokratia carried the story with the headline “Erdoğan provokes” and said, “Erdoğan has shown his true colors once again. He calls Greek Muslims Turks and tries to appear as their benefactor.”

Etnos newspaper said, “Erdoğan’s government is very interested in creating a minority issue in Thrace, and they are very good at it.”

Official Greek numbers say around 49,000 ethnic Turks live in Thrace, while western Thrace culture and education associations put the number at around 150,000.

Erdogan Reiterates Support for Turkish Minority in Thrace September 15, 2012

Posted by Yilan in Trakya, Turkey, Yunanistan.
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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sent a congratulatory message to the Fraternity, Equality and Peace Party (DEP) in Greece to mark the 21st anniversary of the group, which was founded by members of the minority community in Thrace.

“Our kin in western Thrace has always had a special place in our hearts,” Erdoğan said. “That is why it is very important that our kin exercises their rights, which have been guaranteed by international agreements, to their full extent.”

He added: “We will always stand by the Turkish minority in western Thrace, as we have done up to this day. ” Erdogan is said to be keen to keep relations warm with Greece, despite political differences in a number of areas.

(Source: voanews)