Thrace: Sensitivities with Consular instigation

On 15.07.2021 the association with the name Association of Scientists Minority Party chaired by Dr. Baltatzi Hussein, organized in Xanthi an event for the anniversary of the coup attempt of the 15th July 2016 in Turkey. The place that was originally chosen was part of  the Minority High School – Lyceum of Xanthi, but reasonably due to reactions that was caused,  it  was eventually held in the mosque of Platanos. The event took place under  the presence of the Turkish Consul and attracted the interest of a few dozenMuslims in the area, while it was completelydevalued by scientists and the prominent members of the minority except for thewell-known self-appointed mufti.  

I would like to emphasize, on the one hand the initiative of this remarkable Association,  that of the Minority Scientists and on the other hand  the action of the Turkish Consul.  

This Association was founded in the 1980s, supposedly to utilize the potential of the scientificpotential of the minority, tocontribute to the spiritual, cultural and socialprogress of the minority andon the other hand to defend the ideals of freedom,of democracy, ofhuman rights, of  friendship between peoples and especiallybetween theGreek and the Turkish people. Today under thechairmanship of Dr. Baltatzi Hussein, a Muslim from Xanthi who is a native of themountainous area of Xanthi, a graduate of a Greek university,it operates as abranch of the European Federation of Turks of Western Thrace andit develops an action ,which could becharacterised as at least controversial and problematic.  

As the President of the Association knew very well,the sports areaof the Minority Gymnasium – Lyceum of Xanthi isa  vakufiki  property, which the Management Committee of Xanthi MuslimProperty hasleased to the School Tax Office purely foreducational purposes. In addition, inwhichever space is characterized as school, the SchoolManagement must have the authority to take decisions together with theeducational authorities of our country for the events that are organized in it.The space is therefore not intended for such events:What does a school space have to do with an eventfor one’s anniversarycontroversial coup in a foreign country? In addition, with whom did they agree to hold thisevent and to bypass the legal commitment to use the space and even to hold anevent in the presence of the Turkish consul?

Eventually the event was hosted atthe mosque of Platanos, which also belongs to the Management Committee, in abeautiful worship place ,well-groomed and with many  facilities which is maintained by the Management Committee with every diligence andit offers it to the use of every believer. The fact that unacceptable and disparagingstatements targeting the Chairman of the Management Committee,  were published in the press, by the local  self-appointed mufti and journalists of theconsulate propaganda system and the Consul himself , shows an attempt tointimidate Muslims something  that is notin line with the aims of the union, and also reveals an inappropriate behavior ofthe Turkish consulate itself. 

The specific Association, therefore, found no reasonto hold a similarevent for example neither for the withdrawal of Turkey from the Convention on the rights of women which has sparkedanti-government protests, norof course for the death of the lawyer Embro Timtik byhunger strike whowas held illegally without trial, nor for theillegal detention without trial ofhundreds of citizens of the neighboring countrysuch as Osman Kavala, nor for thesentence of many years (even life imprisonment) of tensof thousands ofscientists, academics, lawyers, judges, military inTurkey with outdated and unjustified accusations for the manupulation of theTurlish Justice,with replacementsof one third of the judges ,instead it found a reason tocelebrate  the coup attempt, to pass the messages that Turkeywished , which is that of demanding the extradition of the eight militaryfugitives who were granted asylum in Greece. The  association itself which supposedly representstheminorityscientists and his President who is a doctor, found no reason to hold an event on the need for vaccination and on informingthe minority about the pandemic and public health. On the contrary it functionedas a promotional center of the purposes of the Turkish Consulate. The TurkishConsul, in fact, initially defying the rules of  the use of a schoolground and that of a placeof worship, tried to activate the interest ofthe minority for what is happening in Turkey, promoting associations andpersons, which are means of promoting theaspirations of another country in theinterior of Greece. And all this combined with thejourney of the TurkishAmbassador in Rhodes, the same day he chose tovisit  minority associations on theisland.

It is a pity for an association with so manyprominent members of the minority tobecome an instrument of the Turkish propaganda, toreveal now without awareness of its mission, to all of us Thracianswhich its real purposes and its role in the region are. It is a pity that somedo not realize how coldly indifferent  itis now the vast majority of the minority in restriction actions within thenarrow confines of the Consulate ‘s influence. Imagine an Associationorganizing an event of Constantinoplepeople in Turkey for the events of 1974 and Attila who ledto the loss of the Northern part of Cyprus. The largest Thrace’semployer, the Turkish Consulate, now feels that its spaceinfluence is constantly weakening, as his wageearners here at Thrace, anxiously attempt to raise the eroded prestige of theneighbour country that is gradually moving towards radical Islamism and totalitarianism.I have the feeling that all of these are dependenton the Consul’s desire and have completely lost their influence in thecommunity and have become  graphicremnants of another prosperous era that only led to their own personal andindividual financial benefit.

Every Consul now acquires a decorative role andthe State, and mainly our prosperous democracy as a European country, leadsgradually and steadily in the complete weakening of its role in the region. TheState and the State Department sometimes have to remind him to respect the rulesand the law and always indicate to him politely, not to deviate and not to actdivisively, accepting and fully coordinating with thewishes of the Muslim minority of Thrace. The factthat the Consul criticises and targets institutional  persons of the host country, characterizingthem as narrow-minded becausethey did the obvious, that is, they respected thelaw and denied holding  a political eventat a school, and also the fact that he states that by organising finally theevent at the mosque of Platanos,”taught to some people a lesson”, showsunjustifiable irritation and constitutes a diplomatic diversion.

Concerningsome association leaders, they should know that recognition comes throughsocial and professional  consistency, amark given by the people who have eyes and knowledge now.  Consularpedestals, stairs, vassal public relations  are not passports of success anymore, but rather passports of oblivion and devaluation. The minority wants to be present in the developments that are coming and  are changing the country for its entry into the digital future and it is tired of becoming a target of diplomatic activism and neighboring confrontations.The minority is tired of the game with the consular boogeyman and the excessive tolerance of Greece and it gives now a stigma, for those who of course can and want to see it.

Συγγραφέας: Στέργιος Γιαλάογλου

Στέργιος Γιαλάογλου