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Greek political parties’ protests against EP panels on minority rights in Greece (17/4/2008 & 2/3/2016)

Παρασκευή, 11 Μαρτίου 2016 22:31
Melec Kirmaci, Eugenia Natsoulidou and Panayote Dimitras at European Parliament.
Melec Kirmaci, Eugenia Natsoulidou and Panayote Dimitras at European Parliament.

“Freedom of Association in Greece: A Loophole in European Minority Rights Standards”

 Panel discussion at the European Parliament on 2 March 2016 – Greek party reactions


Event with unhistorical and irredentist content about Macedonia and Thrace in the European Parliament - Letter of Protest from Eva Kaili and Manolis Kefalogiannis to EP President Martin Schulz


1 March 2016

A letter of protest was sent from Eva Kaili, head of the parliamentary group of “Elia” and Manolis K. Kefalogiannis, head of the parliamentary group “ND” to the European Parliament and the President of the European Parliament, Mr. Martin Schultz.

The letter concerns an event at the European Parliament on “Freedom of Association in Greece: A Loophole in Minority Rights Standards” where representatives of organizations that promote irredentist positions against Greece as the “Macedonian Educational and Cultural Movement of Edessa” and the “Rainbow” organization are invited.

In their letter, Eva Kaili and Manolis K. Kefalogiannis underline that the minority in Thrace, under the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, is a religious minority and also that the “Rainbow” organization is the exponent of the irredentist intentions of a small group of inhabitants of Slavic origin who mostly reside in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Moreover, the Greek MEPs stressed in their letter that the Greek Constitution guarantees full protection of the rights and freedoms of all individuals living in Greece, irrespective of nationality and religious or political beliefs of Greek citizens.

[translated from the Greek original by Vasilis Tsarnas]

Letter of Protest to the European Parliament from Eliza Vozemberg, New Democracy MEP


2 March 2016

On the occasion of the event held in a chamber of the European Parliament, titled “Freedom of Association in Greece: A Loophole in Minority Rights Standards”, to which were invited representatives of organizations promoting irredentist positions against Greece, Eliza Vozemberg-Vrionidi ND MEP, having expressed to the European Parliament General Directorate her strong objections to the participation of such organizations as official guests in an MEP event, made the following statement:

“Such events involving organizations that only promote irredentist positions and undermine the truth, are unfortunately DANGEROUS, HISTORICALLY UNINFORMED and are an affront to Greece!”

[translated from the Greek original by Andrea Gilbert]


Denounces event in the European Parliament on the “recognition of minority associations” in Greece


1 March 2016

The European Parliamentary Group of the Communist Party of Greece [KKE] denounces the provocative event on the topic of “recognition of minority associations” in Greece, organized on Wednesday, 2 March by Csaba Sógor MEP under the auspices of the European People’s Party [EPP] and with the tacit consent of the New Democracy MEPs belonging to the same political group.

As stated in its complaint:

“This event creates major questions also concerning the time chosen to open such a discussion. It creates grounds for promotion of dangerous imperialist designs in the name of “protection of minority rights” during a period of heightening imperialist rivalries and threats of war in the region, while NATO involvement in the Aegean is already a dangerous development that adversely affects created a dangerous climate to the detriment of the people, and which adversely affects the sovereign rights of Greece.

The people must be vigilant against the imperialist designs. They must condemn nationalism, that racist, fascist poison. They must strengthen their common struggle to put obstacles in the way of the war designs of the EU, the US, NATO and bourgeois governments, and fight to overthrow their rotten exploitative system, paving the way to peaceful coexistence, friendship and the solidarity of [all] people.”

[translated from the Greek original by Andrea Gilbert]

Golden Dawn letters as sent by GD in English (the Greek versions are in http://www.xryshaygh.com/enimerosi/view/anthellhniko-aischos-sthn-eurwboulh-to-laiko-komma-nd-sundiorganwnei-ekdhlw)

1 March 2016


Once again we are surprised for the hostile attitude that a member of your political group namely Mister SÓGOR, is expressing against our country. In violation of the International Law and the Lausanne Treaty, which we doubt that even yourself are aware of, intervenes in matters of internal policy of another member state and ally. He is trying, for unknown reasons and undercover purposes, to satisfy the demands of Ankara's regime against Greece. The exact status of the Minority in Thrace is defined precisely in the aforementioned Treaty, signed between Greece and Turkey, it clearly states that in Greek Thrace the existing minority is a religious (Muslim) and NOT an ethnic minority. We make crystal clear to you that, except this Muslim Minority in Thrace, no other minority in Greece is recognised by International Law.

Consequently we demand that your political group withdraws the support for this event. We also urge you to take any appropriate action to cancel this event. Additionally, please be informed that any future offend of our country based on any activity of your group will not be considered as a simple coincidence and therefore, will be treated accordingly.

The MEPs of Popular Association – Golden Dawn

General Eleftherios Synadinos

Mister Lampros Fountoulis

General Georgios Epitideios

Mr Csaba SÓGOR,

We would like to inform you that your initiative and decision to include the Greek Thrace in the unrepresented nations constitutes a despicable, and ignorant of history attempt which strictly offends our country therefore it is unacceptable. Additionally it is a flagrant violation of Lausanne Treaty (which probably you are ignorant of it and you should immediately read it) in which is explicitly mentioned the Muslim and not Turkish minority in Thrace.  Besides that, your action is a blatant violation of International Law and also a direct intervention in matters of internal policy in another state, something that cannot and will not be tolerated. Your action is considered hostile towards a friend and ally, nation member of the European Union. It is also a hostile action against the Greek People. It shows that you wish to serve the interests of Ankara's regime, with all that this implies.

Consequently, we demand the immediate cancelation of this event, and also an apology for your provocative action.


The MEPs of Popular Association – Golden Dawn

General Eleftherios Synadinos

Mister Lampros Fountoulis

General Georgios Epitideios


“The Ignored Minorities in Greece: Western Thrace Turks and Macedonians”

Panel Discussion in the European Parliament on Thursday 17 April 2008 – Greek party reactions

Brussels 16.04.2008

To the attention of the Heads of the Green / EFA Group

Dear Heads of Delegation

We have been informed that a panel entitled «Ignored Minorities in Greece» is being organized by the Greens / EFA Group on the premises of the EP. Unfortunately, methods unfamiliar to this House have been used to exclude representatives of Greek civil society from the panel as speakers, although Greece is the only country concerned. It is ironic that the political group organising this event claims to promote pluralism, democracy and the freedom of expression.

Given the fact that their voice will remain unheard, we would like to stress the following facts:

All Greek citizens, irrespective of ethnic origin or religious affiliation, enjoy full equality before the law and equal political rights as well as the specific safeguards of human and minority rights foreseen by International and European law and especially by the Treaty of Lausanne.

Within this fundamental framework, guaranteed by the Greek Constitution, Greece has developed policies to safeguard and promote the cultural and linguistic diversity of the Muslim minority, while at the same time ensuring its full integration and participation in all aspects of Greek society.

Taking into consideration the Turkish, Pomak and Roma ethnic origin of the Muslim minority in Thrace, the Greek State actively ensures that its Muslim citizens derive all the benefits of membership in the European Union, exactly as all other Greek citizens, while preserving their religious, cultural as well as linguistic characteristics.

This active policy on the part of the Greek State is implemented through specific measures with concrete results, to the benefit of all the members of the Muslim minority and especially its most vulnerable groups, such as women and children.


The only minority recognised by International Treaties in Greece is the Muslim minority in Western Thrace. A small number of people living in Florina speak, apart from Greek, a Slav dialect, which is confined to family or colloquial use. This dialect is close to the language spoken by the Slav Macedonians in neighbouring FYROM.  Cross-border contacts (tourism, trade etc) keep this dialect in much the same way as Greek language is also spoken in southern FYROM. All people speaking this dialect are bilingual (Greek language/Slavic dialect) Greek citizens.

A political party claiming to represent a non-existent «Macedonian minority» in Greece, called «Rainbow», was set up in 1994.  In the 1996 parliamentary elections 3.476 people voted for it (percentage of 0, 05%). During the April 2000 parliamentary elections the party joined other small parties into a coalition called OAKKE (“Organisation for the Reconstruction of the Communist Party of Greece”) which received an overall percentage of 0,017% (namely, 1139 votes). In the course of the last few years its influence has decreased significantly. The Rainbow party decided not to participate in the Parliamentary Elections of 2004 and 2007.

We denounce an event aimed at creating a false and misleading impression to fellow Members. Greece is a state of law granting equal rights to all its citizens' regardless of race, class or origin.  

The Greek Delegation of the EPP-ED Group               

Statement of the PASOK parliamentary group on the event organized in the European Parliament on minorities


17 April 2008

“The organization of a public debate in a European Parliament room, from a subgroup of the political group of the Greens, on the “forgotten minorities” in Greece, is certainly not an event that either expresses or is supported in any way by the European Parliament. It raises though serious questions about the intentions of the organizers, both because it is organized in a particularly sensitive period for the stability in the Balkans, and for the conscious exclusion from the list of speakers of every institutional agent (the State, political parties, diplomatic service) or representatives of civil society who could contribute to the discussion, with different analyses and data. There is also concern that in the official program of the event were included as speakers also foreign MEPs who never gave their consent and who will not even attend.

The PASOK MEPs condemn every attempt to use minorities, real or not, not to promote human rights in the EU, but for the unfair “targeting” of Greece, for the creation of false and misleading impressions, and for stirring up nationalist passions in populations of the EU.”

[translated from the Greek original by Panayote Dimitras]


Communist Party of Greece

Euro-parliamentary group

145 Irakliou Av. GR-14231 ATHENS, tel. (+30)2102592111, fax (+30)2102592298, e-mail: Αυτή η διεύθυνση ηλεκτρονικού ταχυδρομείου προστατεύεται από τους αυτοματισμούς αποστολέων ανεπιθύμητων μηνυμάτων. Χρειάζεται να ενεργοποιήσετε τη JavaScript για να μπορέσετε να τη δείτε.

Open Letter-Condemnation to:

President of the European Parliament: Hans-Gert PÖTTERING

Presidents of the Political Groups of the European Parliament:

Joseph DAUL, PPE



Brian CROWLEY and  Cristiana MUSCARDINI, UEN



Jens-Peter BONDE and Nigel FARAGE, IND/DEM

Members of the European Parliament

Brussels, 11th April 2008

Subject: The Dangerous Stirring up of Minority Issues in the Balkans and the wider area.

The Euro-parliamentary Group (MEPs) of Communist Party of Greece (KKE) condemns the outrageous fact that on 17th  April a meeting will be held on the premises of the European Parliament with as its subject “Existent minorities in Greece: The Turks of Western Thrace and Macedonians”. This meeting is part of the imperialist plans, which we have experienced in recent years with the changes of the borders in the Balkans, the rise of nationalism, the so-called declaration of independence of Kosovo and its recognition by the USA and the EU, the emergence of new protectorate-sates in the Balkans, the increase of the presence of foreign armies and the development of military bases.

These developments, especially the so-called declaration of independence of Kosovo, provoke serious concerns amongst the peoples of this region, because they open a “Pandora’s box” for new “dismemberments” of states, border changes and renewed bloodletting. The danger of a general outbreak of war in the Balkans is reignited by the stirring up of existing and non-existent issues relating to minorities in the region, behind which the interests of the different imperialist centers are to be found. It is these issues, which this particular meeting is trying to stir up, within the framework of the well known interventions of the USA-in November 2006 by the newly-appointed US ambassador T. Countryman, and by the recent report of the US State Department in 2007 concerning “Human Rights”.

The KKE, on principle, respects and fights for the rights of minorities. Rights related to background, language and religion, which are protected by specific international and bilateral agreements. We are of the opinion that minorities can and should be bridges of friendship between the peoples and must not be transformed into tools in the hands of the imperialists, in order to justify war and every type of intervention for border change.  The imperialist are not at all concerned about the peoples and minorities, only in the promotion of their class and geopolitical interests.

Under the conditions of Imperialism, Minorities must demand their rights within the borders of the states where they live.  The common class interests of the workers constitute the base from which attempts at discrimination can be dealt with, whether these arise from the governments of these countries and the foreign powers, or from the leaders of their communities, who often seek the secession or autonomy, not to liberate their people from class exploitation, but to be able to be oppressors or to enjoy the 30 pieces of silver through their attachment to the strategic plans of the imperialist countries.

On this basis, the KKE seeks solutions concerning the special rights of Greek citizens who belong to the Muslim minority (Of Turkish, Albanian and Pomak descent), with as a starting point the acceptance of the situation created by the Treaty of Lausanne, a reality which must be accepted and respected by everyone.  In the Treaty of Lausanne, the minority was referred to as Muslim and the borders between Turkey and Greece were established. We reject the arguments that it is an exclusively “Turkish minority”, since we are talking about a population with various national backgrounds.

Our Party has struggled consistently all these years against the policies of the Greek governments, which followed the tactic of “quarantine” and discrimination against the Muslim minority, something which strengthens the divisive propaganda of the Turkish bourgeois class directed towards the minority population of our country. Our Party continues to this day to defend and promote demands which support the Muslim minority, while simultaneously stressing that the bourgeois classes of Greece and Turkey in their rivalry try to exploit minority issues, without ruling out the sharpening of this crisis and the outbreak of war in Thrace. Such a development, which is possibly being cultivated by foreign imperialist circles, is not in the interest of the peoples of Greece and Turkey, and more generally of the Balkans.

In addition, as known, after the Balkan wars (1912-13), with the Treaty of Bucharest, the borders of the Balkan countries were finally settled. From the geographical area of Macedonia, Greece took 51.57%, Serbia 38.32% and Bulgaria 10.11%. 

In Greece today there are Slav-speakers. They are all Greek citizens and they should be treated equally. We are against every form of discrimination against them, and we fight it wherever it exists. At the same time we reject any arguments concerning the existence of a “Macedonian Minority”, for the following reasons.

The nation is a historically stable community of people, which shares a language, territory, economic life and a common psychology which is expressed in a common culture. Based on this view there is no Macedonian nation (and of course no Macedonian minority, as a part of this nation which lives outside its borders). Macedonia should be considered as a large geographical area, in which live many nationalities.

The dominant nationality which exists today in FYROM was created as such only after the 2nd World War, when the conditions mentioned above allowed for the creation of the Autonomous Republic of Macedonia within Yugoslavia. From this viewpoint it is has no relations with the Slav-speakers in Greece. It is clear that the only relation that the Greek Slav-speakers have with the dominant nationality in FYROM is linguistic, this is not however enough to characterize them as a minority of this nationality in our country. Language on its own does not define a nation, if the other elements which have mentioned are absent.

In addition the Slav-speakers do not have a coherent national consciousness. During the Balkan wars many of them fought on the Greek side, while others fought on the side of the Bulgarians. Today many of them are bilingual, and in general live scattered throughout the whole country due to internal migration, intermarriage etc.

We stress with great concern that the EU for years now has tried for political purposes to strengthen different minority groups, or other specific groups within the population, or with specificities which are “invented”. The pretexts are normally cultural customs, the preservation of the languages etc. They seem innocent and fair, but they serve one thing: to create recruits to play the role of an advance guard, or to constitute the pretext for blackmail or even a new war. Secret services and special mechanisms work to create new parties that will on the surface be interested in the problems of immigrants but in reality they will work to ignite nationalism and chauvinism. The European Court works in a similar direction.

The KKE considers that there is a conscious attempt by some circles in the name of defending the interests of Slav speakers to create an issue concerning a Macedonian minority in Greece.  It is an attempt which consciously seeks to create problems, within the framework of a policy of “divide and rule” in the interests of the plans of the USA and other imperialist powers.

We condemn these designs and the attempt to use the European Parliament for these machinations!

We call on the peoples of the Balkans, above all the Greek people, to be vigilant and struggle to overturn the negative balance of forces internationally, to block their governments from participating in imperialist plans, to stop these machinations to create protectorates and to change the borders.

Euro-parliamentary Group (MEPs) of Communist Party of Greece (KKE)


Thanasis PAFILIS

Georgios TOUSSAS

Παναγιώτης Δημητράς

Εκπρόσωπος του Ελληνικού Παρατηρητηρίου των Συμφωνιών του Ελσίνκι (ΕΠΣΕ), μέλος της Γραμματείας της Ένωσης Ουμανιστών Ελλάδας (ΕΝΩ.ΟΥΜ.Ε.), μέλος του Εκτελεστικού Γραφείου της Ευρωπαϊκής Ουμανιστικής Ομοσπονδίας και μέλος της Συνέλευσης Εκπροσώπων της Παγκόσμιας Οργάνωσης Κατά των Βασανιστηρίων (OMCT). Συγγραφέας του βιβλίου Αναζητώντας τα χαμένα δικαιώματα στην Ελλάδα. Η σκοτεινή πλευρά της ελληνικής δημοκρατίας (2007).

1 σχόλιο

Hope not hate

Greek nazi MEPs disrupt EP conference and get expelled from plenary
Source:Greek Helsinki Monitor | Saturday, 12 March 2016
From Panayote Dimitras for Greek Helsinki Monitor in Athens

Nazi Golden Dawn MEP Eleftherios Synadinos made history on 9 March when he became the first Member of the European Parliament ever to be expelled from a plenary session of the parliament.

Synadinos had said “As it has been expressed in scientific literature, the Turks are dirty and polluted. Turks are like wild dogs when they play but when they have to fight against their enemies they run away. The only effective way to deal with the Turks is with decisive and resolute attitudes.”

Soon after this outburst, EP President Martin Schulz walked into the Chamber to state that “the sentence …represents a breach of the values of the EU. So as an immediate measure… I immediately exclude Mr Synadinos from the Chamber.”

A week earlier, on 2 March, Synadinos and fellow Golden Dawn MEP Lampros Fountoulis disrupted a parliamentary conference on violations of the rights of the Turkish and Macedonian minorities in Greece, demanding that it should be cancelled. The host, Hungarian minority MEP from Romania Csaba Sógor, firmly reacted and forced the two MEPs out of the room.

It should be mentioned that the conference wasalso opposed by Greece’s conservative, socialist and Communist MEPs, just as all three parties’ MEPs had opposed another conference on 17 April 2008.

Participants at those two conferences from the two minorities – plus this author – were called “irredentist,” “untruthful” etc. by the Greek MEPs, even though the content of their presentations was based on European Court of Human Rights judgments against Greece and related UN recommendations.

The MEPs’ protests are available on line at http://booksjournal.gr/slideshow/item/1970-greek-political-parties’-protests-against-ep-panels-on-minority-rights-in-greece-17-4-2008-2-3-2016.

Panayote Dimitras
Panayote Dimitras
12 Μαρ 2016, 07:03

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