Thursday, April 21, 2011
Gulen Schools - Greece to shut down 35 Turkish schools
World Bulletin / News
An opposition deputy has asked the government about reported plans by neighboring Greece to shut down 35 Turkish primary schools in Western Thrace as part of its austerity measures and reforms in education.
Republican People's Party (CHP) Bursa deputy Onur Öymen submitted a question in Parliament to Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, asking what measures the government is planning to take as Turkish schools face possible closure, news reports said on Wednesday.
The Turkish media reported last week that Greek authorities have decided to close down 35 of 57 primary schools in the Western Thrace region, home to Greece's Turkish minority. The Turkish community has expressed concern over the decision.
The Turkish Education Ministry released a statement saying the decision was a disappointment as Greek authorities did not consult with the Turkish community over the closure of the schools.
Öymen asked Davutoğlu what kind of initiatives the government has undertaken against the Greek decision which he said is "against the spirit and language of the Lausanne Treaty."
The 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, one of the founding treaties of the Turkish Republic, obligates Turkey and Greece to grant and respect a broad array of rights for the Greek minority of İstanbul and the Turkish minority of Western Thrace. Such rights include equality before the law, free exercise of religion, free use of its own language, including in primary schools, and control over their own religious affairs.
The CHP deputy asked what Turkish government is planning to do if Greece does not rescind its decision.