EFA calls the EU to listen to the needs of minority groups in the next term

In an event in Komotini (Western Thrace), EFA President and Spitzenkandidatin stressed the importance of minorities being recognised and represented in the institutions

The European Free Alliance calls for the EU to take seriously the needs of the different minority groups in the European countries. In an event in Greece, EFA highlighted that there are many minority groups living in EU member states and that it is important not to leave them apart. The event also counted with the participation FEP Party, our member in Greece, the party representing the Turkish minority in Western Thrace.

In Greece, the Turkish minority is not recognized. The state recognises the “Muslim minority”, but not the Turkish identity of the people in the area, which is not linked to a religious feeling. This affects approximately 140.000 people living in this region. “In Western Thrace there are Turks. We are here, we speak, we live, and we think in Turkish. Greece denies our existence. But denying our community’s existence will not make us disappear”, explained the Deputy Chairman of the FEP Party Koray Bağdatlı. The Turkish minority in Greece are striving to be recognized, because it is the only way in which they will be able to claim their rights.

One of the main problems that they find nowadays is that minority parties in Greece are excluded by a 3% electoral threshold, while the Turkish minority in Greece is 1,2% of the population. Barriers to representation are barriers to democracy. “The imposition of a 3% in Greece leaves an important part of the population unrepresented, especially from the Turkish minority. The people left out are also European citizens, and deserve to have a say!”, said EFA President Lorena López de Lacalle.

Coming from a national minority herself, EFA Spitzenkandidatin Maylis Roßberg could deeply relate to the situation of the Turkish minority in Greece. “I also come from a national minority, but in our case, we are seen as one of the best practices in Europe”, she said. With the event happening just one week before the Maastricht debate, EFA Spitzenkandidatin committed to making the needs of the Turkish minority in Greece acknowledged by the EU Commission President. “If Athens doesn’t listen to you, I will make sure to bring your voices to Europe and that next week in the Maastricht Debate Von der Leyen becomes aware of your existence and needs!”.