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Call to Greece from the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe01 October 2019Warning from the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe: The judgments of the ECtHR on Bekir-Ousta group of cases have not been implemented for 11 years.

The Council of Europe Committee of Ministers examined the cases of the Bekir Usta group on associations belonging to the Western Thrace Turkish community at a meeting held in Strasbourg on 23-25 September 2019. At its 1355th meeting, the Committee of Ministers openly criticized the ECHR decisions regarding the Xanthi Turkish Union (ITB), the Rhodope Turkish Women Cultural Association and the Association of Minority Youth in Meriç Province for eleven years. 

In the decision of 25 September 2019, the Committee of Ministers criticized the lack of further investigation into the merits of the ECtHR case, despite the amendment to the Code of Civil Procedure in Greece in 2017. It was stated that the official status of the Xanthi Turkish Union has not been returned and that the Rhodope Turkish Women Culture Association and the Meriç Minority Youth Association have not been registered yet.

The Committee of Ministers criticized the dismissal of the application of the Xanthi Turkish Union to the Court of Appeal of Thrace after the adoption of the law dated 4491/2017, also noted with concern that the trial of the Xanthi Turkish Union in the Supreme Court of Appeals was not a date before 20 March 2020.

The Committee of Ministers reiterated the request of the Greek authorities to take all necessary measures periodically to examine the cases of the applicant associations by the Greek national courts in accordance with the ECtHR judgments and Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights. 

As stated in the decision in December 2018, the Committee of Ministers regrets that the Court of Cassation's final application in 2017 was rejected by the Supreme Court of Appeals in 2017 for the same reasons that the ECtHR criticized in its 2008 judgments.

Similarly, the Committee of Ministers reiterated the recommendation to the Greek authorities to ensure that the national courts take full and effective decisions in accordance with the ECtHR case-law on the registration or dissolution of associations, and that additional measures for the widespread dissemination of ECtHR case-law in the country and the systematic training of local judges at all levels.

Finally, the Committee of Ministers decided to re-examine the cases of the Bekir Usta group regarding the Western Thrace Turkish associations at its meeting in June 2020 following the appeal of the Xanthi Turkish Union to the Supreme Court of Appeals.

See the decision of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers
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