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Persecution continues in Western Thrace04 August 2019In Greece, cruel policies aimed at destroying Western Thrace Turkish Minority Education, which has an autonomous status with the Lausanne Treaty, are not slowing down. Finally, it was decided to close 6 more Turkish Minority Primary Schools throughout Western Thrace.

Western Thrace Muslim Turkish Minority, which can not be put up with by the mentality, is considered as a "national problem", in this wise the work does not slow down which is carried out to eliminate minority institutions and organizations. In this context, the Mufti's office are seized and our religious freedom is violiated in a junta style, as well as our right to autonomous education is being violated,which is one of the pillars of the existence of the Minority. In recent years, more than 60 minority primary schools have been closed down by the Ministry of Education on the grounds of lack of students.

According to the news, the Athens government will close six more Turkish Minority Primary Schools whichare under a special and autonomous status by violating the international treaty and human rights, in particular the Lausanne Treaty. The persistence of this practice in spite of harsh reactions is a matter of concern for the minority.

While the number of minority primary schools closed in the last 10 years exceeds 60, there is a significant decrease in the number of students studying in minority primary schools. The Athens government, which does not respond to the educational demands of the Western Thrace Turkish Minority, is also avoiding a dialogue process for the solution of this growing problem every year. As a result, minority education has continued to weaken for the last 20 years.

The schools, which were closed at the beginning of each school year, became an indicator of the minority education that is wanted to be eliminated. Closing of minority schools without taking into account the special status of minority education determined by special regulations including the bilateral agreements in the context of Treaty of Lausanne,    are harshly reacted by the minority. However, regardless of the reactions of the minority, this practice continues as a state policy even if governments change. 

A month before the start of 2019–2020 education year, local media reported that some minority primary schools across Western Thrace will be closed. According to the news, The Ministry of Education and local institutions in the region decided to close 6 minority primary schools before the new school year. This information has not yet gained certainty and formality however, authorities are expected to announce the closure of the schools in the coming days.

It was learned that four of the primary schools planned to be closed were in Rodop province, one in İskeçe province and one in Meriç province. Minority primary schools in the villages of Dündarlı, Bulduklu, Doğanca and Melikli in Rodop, Zeynelli village in İskeçe and Çilingirmahalle in Meriç provinces are expected to be closed.

On the other hand, it has been suggested that the number of classes will be reduced in some minority primary schools as well as schools that will be closed in the new school year. For example, a 12-class school, will be reduced to 10 classes, or 6-class village primary school will be reduced to 4 classes. Reducing the number of classes in minority primary schools means that the number of teaching staff in these schools will be reduced too. 

Stating that such developments are sad for the minority, minority education circles stressed that the negative trend must be stopped and they expect goodwill from the government for this.

In the meantime, it is expected that the minority schools that are likely to be closed and the schools whose class numbers will be reduced will become official in the coming days.
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