Turkey’s government denounced a ruling by a Greek appeals court to reject an application by the Turkish Union of Xanthi to register as a local association over the use of the word Turkish.
The union had appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan doesn’t recognize when it is at odds with what he wants but as his government now is arguing Greece had violated the right to association by not allowing the union to register.
Erdogan visited northern Greece near the area of Thrace where the union is located in the city of Xanthi and wants greater rights for the Turkish minority while still keeping closed the Halki Seminary.
To implement the decisions of the ECHR, the Greek Parliament adopted legislation in 2017 that enabled the banned associations to apply for re-registration, but included major exceptions, the Turkish foreign ministry said, Kathimerini reported.
“The decision of the court demonstrates that the legislation adopted by the Greek Parliament is not enough for the realization of the right to association,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement.
“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,” he said, without mentioning Turkish discrimination against the Greek Church.
Greece only recognizes 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 with Erdogan saying he doesn’t recognize nor accept the treaty that set borders and conditions between the countries.