Loránt Vincze: FUEN needs to pay special attention to small minorities

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It is regretful that instead of having this conference on Rhodes or Kos Islands to meet the local Turkish community, to see how they live, how they develop, we have to have it in Izmir – said FUEN President Loránt Vincze in his keynote speech at the International Symposium on the Turkish Identity in Rhodes and Kos on November 22 in Izmir, Turkey.

The conference, organised by FUEN member organisation Rhodes, Kos and the Dodecanese Turks Culture and Solidarity Association (ROISDER) aims to highlight the problems of the Island Turks, whose numbers exceed 6,000. They have problems related to the citizenship, to the right to learn Turkish language, to practice their religion, they face hatred and pressure, and they face many problems in the protection of the cultural heritage from Ottoman Turks.

We can only hope that in the future the aggressive nationalism and anti-Turkish behaviour in Greece will lose ground to cooperation between minority and majority. FUEN continuously asks the Greek Government to show openness towards the problems raised by the ethnic minorities as the right European approach, said Vincze, adding that  FUEN Vice-President Halit Habip Oglu is the main promoter of the Turkish minority problems in Greece, he is “practically the foreign affairs ministry of the community”.

“The FUEN needs to pay special attention to small minorities and endangered language groups, as it is one of their few chances to have their interests represented at a European level, and we have to support their objectives by all means. This is clearly valid in the case of the Turkish people in the Western Thrace and on the Greek Islands of Rhodos and Kos. You can be sure about our constant support” – promised the President of the umbrella organisation.

He also pointed out that neither Greece, not Turkey have ratified the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

“In the FUEN there are many different minorities. But all European minorities wish to feel at home in the state they live in, they wish to speak their own language, and live their own identity, to be recognized, to be able to use their mother tongue and to preserve culture. This is the key for their survival, the antidote for assimilation, and the right solution for social cohesion, meaning peaceful coexistence with the majority, conditioned by dialogue and mutual respect. This is the main message of our Minority SafePack Initiative and the Pact between minority and majority. Our job is to put our issues on the official European agenda, and not to please governments. Our fight is to stop the assimilation process by protecting Europe’s language and cultural diversity. We fight for Europe’s cultural identity” – said Loránt Vincze.

The Minority SafePack demands that all funding programs would be open to all languages, to provide funding for small language communities, such as the Turkish community in Greece, he reminded the audience, adding that the Language Diversity Centre, and the proposal of changing the objectives of the European Regional Development Fund to include the protection of national minorities and the promotion of cultural and linguistic diversity would also benefit the Turkish community of Greece.

FUEN Vice-President Halit Habip Oglu was also present at the Symposium, where he addressed a welcome speech to the participants.

Key Topics

  • Political Participation
  • Fundamental Rights
  • Linguistic Diversity
  • Solidarity with the Roma
  • European Citizens' Initiative
  • European Network
  • Forum of the European Minorities / House of Minorities


More photos at Flickr