UN_2016/11/24 - Minority forum

 

UN_2016 - 32nd session – Geneva 13 June - 01 July 2016

      Ecumenical Federation of Constantinopolitans UN Human Rights

 

32nd  session – Geneva 13 June - 01 July 2016

Item 3 – General debate

Delivered by Konstantinos Petsanis

 

Des mesures urgentes sont nécessaires pour la survie de la communauté grecque orthodoxe d'Istanbul

 

Merci Monsieur le Président,

Les minorités à Istanbul sont sur le point de disparaître dans leur pays natal sauf si des mesures urgentes sont mises en place pour assurer leur survie en tant que communautés. Parmi les  premières priorités devrait être la conception et la mise en œuvre de programmes spéciaux pour soutenir le rapatriement de leurs membres qui ont exprimé le souhait de retourner.

L'un des cas les plus caractéristiques est celui de la communauté grecque orthodoxe d'Istanbul ainsi que des Communautés correspondantes des îles de Gökçeada (Imbros) et Bozcaada (Tenedos). Leur population totale était de 125'000 il y a 50 ans et actuellement ne comptent plus que quelques milliers. Au cours des 10 dernières années, les hauts fonctionnaires de la République de Turquie ont admis qu'il y a eu une mesure anti-minorité contre les minorités non musulmanes. Ceci est pour le moins très décevant, car si quelque chose aurait dû être sous la protection du Traité de Lausanne, le congrès sur la base duquel la Turquie moderne a été fondée et a acquis une reconnaissance internationale c’est bien les droits de ces minorités.

EFC étant l'organisation unificatrice de la communauté grecque orthodoxe d'Istanbul expatriées, vivant actuellement dans divers pays, au cours des cinq (5) dernières années elle a présenté des propositions spécifiques au Gouvernement de la Turquie pour faciliter le rapatriement. Essentiellement, preuves à l'appui, toutes ces initiatives sont directement liées aux mesures de recours et de réparation, indiquées dans la résolution 60/147 de l'Assemblée générale des Nations Unies.

 

Les mesures de rapatriement proposées comprennent mais ne se limitent pas à:

 

  • Prise en charge du rapatriement des jeunes générations en fournissant une assistance pour la recherche d'emploi, l'acquisition de compétences linguistiques, etc.
  • Mise en place d'un centre de développement de l'emploi.
  • Soutien à la création d'unités de recherche et de développement avec la coopération des principaux scientifiques de la Communauté vivant actuellement à l'étranger. Par ce biais, les jeunes scientifiques de la Communauté seront attirés.
  • Autoriser, sur la base de la législation actuelle de l'Etat, la gestion libre et transparente des Fondations de Bien-être des minorités, lesquelles à leurs tour seront en mesure de soutenir ces rapatriements. Le cas le plus caractéristique étant celui de l'école de théologie de Halki qui est actuellement toujours fermé.

Nous invitons le Gouvernement de la République de Turquie de prendre note des propositions de l’E.F.C. et d’aider à leur réalisation.  Je vous remercie pour votre attention.

UN_2015/03/02-27_item 5

Ecumenical Federation of Constantinopolitans (EFC)
ECOSOC Member NGO

Human Rights Council — 28th session

Geneva 2-27 March 2015

Item 5 – General Debate

Delivered by Dr Dominique Morabito

 60 Year after Istanbul Pogrom of 6-7 September 1955, the worst one in the Post-War European History, the Greek- Orthodox Community is waiting Remedy Measures

 The Ecumenical Federation of Constantinopolitans (EFC), representing the expatriated Greek Orthodox community of Istanbul, wishes to bring your attention the 60th anniversary of the Pogrom against the Greek-Orthodox (Community), Armenian and Jewish communities of Istanbul, which occurred on the night of 6 September 1955.

This night, a protest rally was organized in Istanbul under the cover of the provocative bombing, the eve in Greece, of the founder of the Republic of Turkey Kemal Atatürk’s birth home. The perpetrators of the failed bombing were arrested on site and it was proved later that they were secret service agents of Turkey.

Thus, during Istanbul’s Pogrom, a highly organized and coordinated mob of 100’000 rioters was brought and released in the city. Attackers were armed and split into storming groups of 50 men.

All the 64 Orthodox and 10 Armenian churches, 1 Synagogue and cemeteries were desecrated or fully demolished; thousands of homes, hostels, shops, factories and schools were plundered and destroyed. The Community deplored 16 deaths, more than 30 severely injured and more than 300 women raped.

A strong climate of insecurity and threat compelled the Greek-Orthodox to expatriate:  from more than 120’000 members in 1955, less than 2’000 live in Istanbul today.

Turkey paid for the material damage a limited compensation of about 10% of their own estimate (8 to 20 times lower than other states estimate), and after the coup d’état, a trial court blamed the then Prime Minister, Adnan  Menderes for the events but, legal experts consider this trial fully deficient.

So far, (a) the real planners were not disclosed, (b) remedy measures were not achieved and (c) a formal apology was not expressed to the victims.

However, last February (11/02/2015), the Prime Minister of Turkey, Mr Davutoğlu, characterized the events of September 1955 as “the Dark Event in the country history which should not be forgotten”. The EFC wishes this declaration to lead to a positive outcome of the ongoing discussions about the measures required for the survival of the Greek-Orthodox community of Istanbul.

UN_2015/11/24-25_item3

Statement of the Ecumenical Federation of Constantinopolitans (EFC)

Human Rights — Forum on Minority Issues — 8th session —

“Minorities in the Criminal Justice System”

UNOG, Geneva 24-25 November 2015

Item 3: "Minorities and the exercise of police powers"

Delivered by Dr Dominique Morabito

EFC is the global Federation representing the expatriated Greek-Orthodox Community of Istanbul whose present international status was established by the Lausanne Treaty (24/7/1923) which also defined the protection measures of non-Muslim minorities. Despite these protection measures, the human rights violations of the non-Muslim minorities forced 98% of the 125000 Greek-Orthodox minority members of Istanbul (Community) to expatriate during the period 1955-2000.

In November 2012, a parliamentarian report of the Grand Assembly of Turkey clearly stated that the anti-minority pogrom in Istanbul on 6-7 September 1955 was the starting point of the acts severely damaging democracy in the country. As an example, the immense hate-generating publications on behalf of the press during the period 1950-1990 that also facilitated the massive exodus of the Community. No action was taken by the Criminal Justice System since it was unable to protect the minority and human rights of the Community members. Indeed, anti-minority administrative measures were coordinated by a “Special Minorities Committee” (Azinlik Taali Komisyonu), established in 1962, which powers were superseding all judicial, administrative and legislative authority. This commission was abolished in 2004 leading to noticeable improvement of the attitude towards non-Muslim minorities, despite the fact that many problems remain to be solved.

Lately, anti-discriminatory and hate crime prevention clauses have been introduce to the Criminal Code of Republic of Turkey. However, these are limited in scope and content. Indeed, according to the article 216 of the Criminal Code of Turkey, in order a discriminatory act to be punished, this act should create an immediate danger of public disorder. Also, in the recent (2014) amendment of the Criminal Code of Turkey (art. 122) hate expression acts are criminalized if only aims to prevent a person to have access to specific services such as preventing the sale or transfer of personal property or real estate, the performance or enjoyment of a service or who offers employment or refuses employment, withholding foodstuffs,  refusing a service that is available to the public, or preventing a person from carrying out an ordinary economic activity.

Therefore, strict restrictions are posed in order a discriminatory and hate expression act to be punished by tribunals. Furthermore, a retrospective analysis of the discriminatory attitudes against the Greek-Orthodox minority shows that the present legislation is not enough to prevent future anti-minority acts.

In this respect, the discriminatory acts against the minorities should be considered as pivotal acts to strengthen democratic principles and guaranteeing the minority and human rights in Turkey. The Government and Parliament of the Republic of Turkey is invited to review the present articles of the Criminal Code and reform them according to UN, OSCE and Council of Europe standards.

UN_2014/11/25-26

Statement of the Ecumenical Federation of Constantinopolitans (EFC)

Forum on Minority Issues --7th session--

“Preventing and addressing violence and atrocity crimes targeted against minorities”

Geneva 25-26 November 2014

 Item 3: Understanding the root causes of violence and atrocity crimes

 Delivered by Dr Dominique Morabito

The Greek-Orthodox Minority of the Republic of Turkey is unfortunately a very particular minority case on which a large scale and long lasting human and minority rights violations were committed in such a degree that forced its members to live still nowadays as an expatriated Community outside their native fatherland to an overwhelming percentage reaching the 98%.

Although the Greek-Orthodox Minority of Istanbul and the islands of Gökçeada (Imbros) and Bozcaada (Tenedos) is a minority community with an international legal status established by the Lausanne Treaty of 1923, since then the Community progressively faced an intensive violation of all four key pillars of minority rights protection and most importantly its right to existence. For example they faced, the mobilization of men aged 18-45 into work battalion camps (1941-42); the implementation of a capital tax aimed at their economical destruction (1942-44); the massive scale of pogrom in Istanbul on the night of September 6th 1955 against the Community members and institutions; or even worst, the massive deportation and forced expatriation of members, which were exempted from the Exchange of Population Agreement, in March 16th 1964.

Although since 2003 the Turkish government took some measures of abandoning anti-minority policies, several administrative measures of the previous era still exist as recognized by the Prime Minister Circular of May 15th 2010, while the remedy measures are very limited. For instance, the State still doesn’t recognize the legal status of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the last 19 months there is a prohibition of the elections at the Minority Welfare Foundations, despite numerous appeals towards the government of Turkey.

The most disappointing is that the President of Turkey, in his statement of September 2nd 2014, insists in regarding the protection of human minority rights as theme of reciprocity of bilateral relations between states. The EFC would like to suggest putting into consideration the encouragement by the States, the UN bodies and the non-state actors involved of promoting the implementation of Resolution 60/147 of the UN General Assembly regarding the obligation for remedy and reparation as the only safe practice appropriate for preventing and addressing violence and atrocities targeted against minorities. The EFC has submitted specific proposals towards this direction and is willing to support and provide with accurate assistance the Republic of Turkey and any other relevant entity.

Thank you for your attention.