Europe

Greece: Turkish minority urges bilingual kindergartens

No arrangement to teach children in their mother tongue made, says minority group

13.04.2018
Greece: Turkish minority urges bilingual kindergartens

By Mehmet Hatipoglu

KOMOTINI, Greece

The Turkish minority of Western Thrace on Friday called on the Greek government to respond to its demand for bilingual kindergartens.

"We expect our government to respond to our call and suggestion regarding the Muslim-Turkish Minority's bilingual kindergarten demand," the Turkish Minority of Western Thrace Advisory Board in Greece said in a statement.

The statement said the demand is within the framework of minority rights safeguarded by the 1923 Lausanne Treaty.

In 2017, it became compulsory for children to attend kindergartens in Greece, without making any special arrangement for the minority whose mother tongue is Turkish, the board added.

Currently, in Western Thrace region the medium of instruction in kindergartens is Greek.

However, there are bilingual primary, secondary and high schools which teach in both the Turkish and Greek languages, in accordance with agreements between Ankara and Athens under the framework of Lausanne Treaty.

Western Thrace is home to a Muslim Turkish minority of around 150,000 people.

*Fatih Hafiz Mehmet contributed to this story from Ankara.

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