As the reader might remember, Greece confiscated the lands of Western Thrace Turkish Minority members due to systematic migration policy although land is the unique means of subsistence for Western Thrace Turkish Minority members. New railway project that will be implemented by the Greek authorities in Western Thrace reminds the old scenarios.
Confiscation of Turkish villages of Yahyabeyli, Vakif, Seymen are likely to be on the agenda if Gümülcine (Komotini) Industy Zone is joined with the new railway line. That means confiscation of approximately 375.000m² of land which belongs to Turkish farmers.
According to the comments of Mustafa Katranci, member of Council of Maronya Municipality, there are two alternatives if that new project project is going to be implemented. The first alternative foresees the confiscation of 375.000m² of land which belongs to Turkish farmers. Within that alternative, Gümülcine (Komotini) Industry Zone will be joined with the new railway line. In the second alternative, new railway line will pass through the Gümülcine (Komotini) Industry Zone as one – line and under that second alternative, the amount of the land that will be confiscated will decrease.
We follow the debate closely
“If it is a must to implement this project, Greek authorities shall act in good faith” revealed Halit Habipoglu, chairman of Federation of Western Thrace Turks in Europe. He continued as ”We are apprehensive about our country’s projects while we have lived some bad experiences. Greek authorities confiscated our land due to a university project but they did not do anything with that land until now and we must pay rent for our own properties.
In 1923, Greek authorities divested the Western Thrace Turkish Minority of 84% of their land via land unifications, ban on land purchase, special incentives given to Greek farmers. If we talk about confiscation of 20% of our land, this clearly shows that our concerns are not illogical. If the project must be implemented, then the idea of the Turkish farmers must be taken as well. This can not be a one-sided decision. He reported that they would follow the process closely and in case of a violation of right of property then they would not hesitate to apply to international human rights organizations in Europe.
Confiscation caused migration of Turkish minority in 1998
Thousand of land in villages of Cepelli, Bulatköy, Gebeceli, Esekcili, Ayazma, Sendeli and Yuvacili that belonged to Turkish minority were confiscated in 1998 via university project, construction of industrial zone, land unification. That caused the Turkish minority to have serious financial problems as they were engaged in farming. As a result, they were forced to leave their land and migrate.
Tel. +49.(0)2302 / 913291
Fax. +49.(0)2302 / 913293
NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations