Türkiye has condemned Greece's decision of closing four more primary schools belonging to the Turkish Muslim minority in Western Thrace for the ongoing school year.
“With this latest decision, more than half of the Minority primary schools have been closed. Thus, Greece's policy of closing primary schools belonging to the Turkish Muslim Minority in Western Thrace through 'temporary suspension' has proven to be systematic,” Tanju Bilgic, the country's Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said in a statement on Friday.
Bilgic reiterated the Turkish minority's right to establish, manage and inspect their own schools in accordance with the Treaty of Lausanne signed in 1923 – which eventually paved the way for an independent Turkish republic.
He said the recent moves show the “discriminatory and oppressive policies” implemented against the Turkish minority in the field of education.
“While Greece closes primary schools with the pretext of insufficient number of students, it ignores, on the other hand, the demands for opening new Minority secondary/high schools despite the obvious need, and violates the education rights of Minority children,” Bilgic noted.
He urged Greece to put an end to its discriminatory policies toward Turkish minority schools year after year.
“Republic of Türkiye will continue to support the Minority's struggle for its rights and justice, both in bilateral contacts and international platforms,” he added.
Greece's Western Thrace region is home to some 150,000 Muslim Turks, whose rights to elect their own religious leaders, found Turkish associations, and have their own schools have been denied by Athens, in violation of European court orders./aa