Associations founded by members of the Muslim minority in Western Thrace, Greece
Emin and Others v. Greece (no. 34144/05)
Tourkiki Enosi Xanthis and Others v. Greece (no. 26698/05)
In Emin and Others, the seven applicants are Greek nationals living in Rodopi (Greece). They are among the founding members of the “Cultural Association of Turkish Women of the Region of Rodopi”. In Tourkiki Enosi Xanthis and Others the applicants are two associations, Tourkiki Enosi Xanthis and the “Science Graduates Circle of the minority in Western Thrace”, and eight Greek nationals.
Both cases concern the applicants’ complaints about decisions taken against associations founded by members of the Muslim minority in Western Thrace (Greece). Relying in particular on Articles 11 (freedom of assembly and association) and 14 (prohibition of discrimination), the applicants in the case of Emin and Others complain of the refusal by the Greek courts to register their association and the applicants in the case of Tourkiki Enosi Xanthis and Others of the court-ordered dissolution of the association Tourkiki Enosi Xanthis. In Tourkiki Enosi Xanthis and Others the applicants also complain, under Article 6 § 1, of the excessive length of the proceedings.
Let me be straight about this issue. Here in Greece everyone is free to establish any kind of association as long as the purposes of this association or the very existence of this association are not a threat for the national security of the country. The Court rightly identifies the complainants as Greek nationals, members of the Muslim Minority of Western Thrace, Greece. However, it failed to realize that it is the names of their associations that pose a national security threat for Greece. And here is why. First note that the term «Tourkiki,» which is a transliteration of the work Τουρκική, means Turkish. When Greek nationals, members of the Muslim minority of Western Thrace, have the right to call themselves Turks, then it is very easy to conclude that there is Turkish minority in Greece, which is not correct (for example the annual report of the US State Department does not mention the existence of such a minority) . If one accepts the existence of a Turkish minority, then this minority has every lawful right to demand self-determination and, by going one step ahead, independence. After all, this exactly what happened with Kosovo. Therefore, this is not a human rights issue, but an issue of national security and as such the Court has no jurisdiction. To put it simply, we do not want to see Western Thrace to become the Kosovo of Greece.
Now what remains a mystery is what did the Greek state to defend its position.