Andreas Gross Raporları
ANDREAS GROSS RAPORLARI
Council of Europe Parlimentary Assembly
AS/Jur (2010) 45/ 26 November 2010 /ajdoc 2010/ orig.angl
Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights
“The situation of the inhabitants of Rhodes and Kos having a Turkish cultural background”
Draft report /Rapporteur: Mr Andreas Gross, Switzerland, Socialist Group
- Preliminary draft resolution
- The Assembly notes that the inhabitants of Rhodes and Kos having a Turkish cultural background are generally well-integrated in the multicultural societies of the two islands. They are proud to be fully-fledged Greek citizens and to participate in the economic prosperity of the islands.
- It commends the Greek Government for its genuine commitment to maintaining and developing the islands’ cosmopolitan character, also by protecting the islands’ historical monuments. without any discrimination. The islands’ multi-cultural character is the fruit of their rich history, which includes four centuries of generally tolerant Ottoman Turk rule.
- The good understanding between the majority population and the different minority groups, including that having a Turkish cultural background, is an important asset for the economic prosperity of the islands, and in particular for their attractiveness to tourism, their main source of revenue.
- The Assembly notes that better knowledge of the Turkish language and culture would benefit not only the inhabitants having a Turkish cultural background, but also their neighbours having Greek or other cultural backgrounds, given the proximity of the islands to major tourist areas on the Turkish coast and the still largely untapped potential for regional cooperation in the field of tourism.
- It therefore welcomes the readiness expressed by the Greek authorities to organise, upon the parents’ request, afternoon classes in Turkish language and culture taught by qualified teachers and funded by the Ministry of Education. Parents on the islands do not seem to be sufficiently aware of this possibility.
- Two other issues require the authorities’ attention: the apparent lack of transparency and accountability of the administration of the Muslim religious foundations (vakfs), and the unclear status of the Muslim religious leadership on the islands.
- The Assembly therefore invites the Greek Government to:
7.1. conduct an information campaign among parents of all schoolchildren on the islands to inform them of the availability of afternoon classes in the Turkish language and culture organised by the educational authorities upon parental request;
7.2. ensure full transparency and accountability of the administration of the two Public Muslim Vakfs in Rhodes and Kos, which are legal persons of public law both before the Greek state and before the members of the local Muslim communities, including by renewing, in an open and transparent way, their councils at regular intervals and securing to every member of the said communities the right to have full access to their public accounts.
7.3. ensure that the Muslim communities in Rhodes and Kos are free to choose their religious preachers (Imams) whose rights and duties should be clarified.
7.4. continue their dialogue with the representatives of the islands’ inhabitants having a Turkish cultural background in order to resolve the above and any other issues arising in future in the spirit of mutual respect and understanding that characterises Rhodes and Kos.
- Explanatory report by Andreas Gross, rapporteur, (Switzerland/SOC)
- The motion on the situation on the Greek islands of Rhodes and Kos and, consequently, the present report, fulfils a promise I made to the Turkish delegation in recognition of their cooperation in assessing the situation on the Turkish islands of Gökçeada (Imbros) and Bozcaada (Tenedos) . Having noted, with regret, how the policies of earlier Turkish Governments have over time destroyed the Greek cultural character of both islands, basically replacing the original ethnic Greek population by new settlers from the Turkish mainland, I had proposed measures to improve the situation of the remaining ethnic Greeks and to create a harmonious, multi-cultural environment that would ensure the prosperity of all the islands’ inhabitants. The Turkish delegation, which thankfully supported most of my proposals, urged me at the time also to look into the situation of the inhabitants of Turkish origin on the Greek islands of Rhodes and Kos. The present report is the result of this inquiry.
- I should like to stress from the outset that the situation which I found on Rhodes and Kos is in no way comparable with that on Gökçeada (Imbros) and Bozcaada (Tenedos). On the two Greek islands which are the subject of the present report, multiculturalism thrives, with the active support of the Greek authorities, and the inhabitants having a Turkish cultural background are well integrated in the island communities. Some problems have remained, and I will make concrete proposals for their solution, as I did for the two Turkish islands. I sincerely hope that the Greek authorities will be more responsive to these proposals than the Turkish have been so far as regards Gökçeada (Imbros) and Bozcaada (Tenedos) .
- Historical background
- The two islands of Rhodes and Kos belong to the Dodecanese group of islands in the south of the Aegean See, close to the Turkish coast of Anatolia. Both islands have a glorious multicultural past, which is still very much in evidence and constitutes the basis for the prosperity of their inhabitants.
- From the Stone Age, Rhodes and Kos have been invaded and influenced by numerous Mediterranean civilisations, including the Minoans, Phoenicians and Dorians, the Romans, Byzantines, Persians, Venetians, Genovese and – from 1309 to 1522, by the Knights Hospitallers. Between their conquest by Suleiman the Magnificent in 1522 and 1912, when Rhodes and Kos fell under Italian occupation during the Turkish-Italian war, the islands were governed by the Ottoman Turks, mostly under a special statute of autonomy allowing the mostly Greek inhabitants a high degree of cultural and economic independence, against payment of a special tax. The islanders, who enjoyed a period of relative prosperity and de-facto autonomy during much of the 19th century, did not participate in the Greek war of independence against Ottoman domination. Italian rule, which left a number of somewhat disputable architectural traces, ended in 1943. After a period of German military occupation ending in 1945 and two years as a British Protectorate, the islands were transferred to Greek sovereignty in 1947.
- Given that the islands did not belong to Greece in 1923, their ethnic Turkish inhabitants did not fall under the “exchange of population” agreed between Greece and Turkey in the Treaty of Lausanne, during which all Muslims from Greece (with the exception of those living in Western Thrace) and all Greeks from Turkey (with the exception of those living in Istanbul and on the islands of Imbros and Tenedos, later to become Gökçeada and Bozcaada) were expelled to their “kin states”. For the same reason, the Muslims on Rhodes and Kos do not fall under the special regime of minority protection under the Lausanne Treaty which was established in favour of those minority populations which were exempted from the “population exchange”. But the treaty with Italy under which the islands were brought under Greek sovereignty specified that all legal inhabitants were entitled to Greek citizenship and that their religious and property rights would be respected.
- During the various Greek-Turkish crises, in particular in 1955 (expulsion of most of the Greek community in Istanbul) and in 1974 (Cyprus conflict), some measures were taken by the Greek authorities which negatively affected the Turkish-origin inhabitants of the two islands, but they stopped short of large-scale expulsion and expropriation. Under a law of 1959 , “abandoned” plots owned by Muslims who left Greece for more than 5 years were expropriated, and Turks who fled the islands at the time of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus were forced to sell their properties in a hurry, and many of them were deprived of their citizenship.
- But the size of the Muslim population (having a Turkish cultural background), which stands at about 4-5000 at present (about 2-3000 on Rhodes and 2000 on the smaller island of Kos), as a proportion of the total population of the islands (117000 on Rhodes and 31000 on Kos), has remained quite significant, despite the emigration of numerous islanders of both communities to the Greek or Turkish mainland, or to other countries in Europe. This is an important difference with the Turkish islands of Gökceada (Imbros) and Bozcaada (Tenedos), whose originally mostly ethnic Greek population has been replaced almost entirely by settlers from the Turkish mainland during the same period.
- Having spoken with numerous islanders having a Turkish cultural background, I have had the impression that they are generally well-integrated and proud to be Greek citizens. Many of them maintain strong cultural and economic links with the Turkish mainland, including sending their children to Turkey for part of their education, and investing in the tourism industry on the Turkish coast. Their social situation is not much different from that of the ethnic Greek majority, and better than that of the “new minorities” who have immigrated from Albania, and from some African and Asian countries over the past decades. Numerous mixed marriages have come to seal the multi-cultural character of the island societies, which I sensed in a very positive way throughout my visit.
- Problems of the Muslim/Turkish origin inhabitants
- The two main issues that were raised during my visit concerned Turkish-language education and the lack of transparency in the administration of the religious foundations (“vakoufs” or “vakfs”) on the islands. Other issues include the upkeep of cultural monuments and the organisation of Muslim worship.
3.1. Turkish-language education
- In view of the gradual decline of the Muslim population on the islands and the tendency of pupils having a Turkish cultural background to attend more and more the mainstream Greek schools, the Greek military junta decided in 1972 to close down the Muslim Turkish-language primary schools – the last one in Rhodes being the “Süleymeniye medresesi”. This was interpreted at the time as a reaction to the closure of the Greek-language schools on Gökceada (Imbros) and Bozcaada (Tenedos) in 1964 and of the Halki Greek Orthodox seminary in the same year. According to the State Secretary in the Ministry of Education, the last Turkish-language schools were closed in 1991, due to the insufficient number of eligible children.
- In Greek schools, religion classes are in principle obligatory. Non-orthodox children are dispensed, but Muslim religion courses are presently not on offer. The Turkish cultural associations (“Brotherhoods”) offer religion classes, and so does the Imam of Kos, in the form of “Muslim Sunday school”.
- According to information provided to me by the Ministry, there is presently a sizeable number of children of Turkish cultural background who could be interested in afternoon classes for Turkish language courses (according to the figures of the Ministry of Education, 30 of 270 children in Ixia have a Turkish cultural background; in the old town of Rhodes 7 of 65; in Skouro 17 of 135). According to the Ministry, the possibility of organising such classes exists, but there is “not much interest” on the side of the parents. The State Secretary, with whom I met in Athens , told me that she is ready to come to the islands and explain the existing possibilities for organising such Turkish-language afternoon classes, and encouraged me to include this in my report. Such classes should be “serious”, taught by teachers qualified in Greece, and open also to Greek children wishing to learn the neighbours’ language.
- During my subsequent visit to the islands, it became clear that the parents having a Turkish cultural background are simply not aware that such a possibility exists. Some of my interlocutors on the islands belonging to this community would like to see the former Turkish-language community schools reopened, at least at primary school level, but that would seem unrealistic, given the small number of children concerned, and the reluctance of the Greek authorities to extend Lausanne-style minority rights to the inhabitants of Rhodes and Kos having a Turkish cultural background.
- This said, I would consider it most appropriate to provide the possibility of Turkish-language classes to all interested children on the islands, not excluding those of other than Turkish cultural origins. The knowledge of one’s neighbours’ language is an important asset both for the preservation of the cosmopolitan character of the islands, and for their economic prosperity. Given the openness of the Greek authorities for such an offer, its realisation seems to be mostly a problem of information.
3.2. The lack of transparent administration of Muslim religious foundations (“vakoufs/vakfs”)
- The legal regime of the properties belonging to religious communities (“vakoufs”, or “vakfs”) is a remnant of the Ottoman period. The Italian administration recognised and formalised the Ottoman structures in several Decrees , but in 1940, the control of Muslim vakfs was handed over to the (majority) local administrations . Under British administration, the vakf properties were returned to the Muslim communities. This legal status was accepted by the Greek authorities under Declaration 19/1947 of the Greek military Governor of the islands and subsequent legislation. Under the Treaty of Paris of 1947 , Greece undertook the obligation to respect the status of all property of the inhabitants of the islands. By consequence, Greece had to respect the existing vakfs in the Dodecanese islands, but no new vakf could be created as the Greek Civil Code, extended to the islands in 1947, does not recognise such a legal entity.
- In practice, the Muslim religious foundations are administered by two “Organisations” (one for Rhodes, one for Kos) having five members each, who are appointed by the Greek authorities (the Secretary General of the Region). In theory (according to the Italian Decree 12/1929, which is still in force), they should be appointed every two years. In practice, they stay in office as long as they enjoy the Government’s confidence. These “Organisations”, similarly to the committees for the management of the vakf in Thrace, are considered as the legal representatives of the totality of the vakf on each island. They are subject to annual financial controls by the Secretary General of the Region, but the annual accounts are not made public.
- I have noted some discontent among my interlocutors having a Turkish cultural background about the management of the Muslim religious foundations. The tensions in this respect are particularly obvious on Rhodes. There are allegations of maladministration such as an excessive sell-off of vakf property, failure to fulfill the vakf’s duty to support poor members of the community, and lack of accountability for the use of the income produced by the vakf properties.
- The Muslim cultural association of Rhodes (“Brotherhood”) reportedly appealed recently to the Attorney General of the island in order to obtain the renewal of the vakf management committee of Rhodes after 25 years, but to no avail. In Kos, the minority of the municipal council publicly denounced the lack of accountability of the island’s vakf organisation and asked specifically for information on the way the Organisation raised and spent € 600 000 for the restoration of two mosques (Lonca Gazi Hasan and Defterdar Ibrahim).
- On vakf administrator told me that his Organisation had sold off 8% of its properties in recent years, whilst the Muslim cultural association had to pay rent for its premises.
- In my view, transparency of the vakf “Organisations” should be established as a matter of urgency. Even if in actual fact there is no maladministration, providing transparency for the vakf accounts would be a valuable confidence-building measure, in view of the unease expressed by leading representatives of the Muslim communities on both islands. The election by the local community itself, at regular intervals, of the five members of each vakf “Organisation”, would further increase their accountability.
3.3. Upkeep of cultural monuments
- According to my interlocutors at the Ministries of Culture and the Interior, all historical monuments on the islands are equally protected and maintained without discrimination. But because of the precarious budgetary situation of Greece, not all restoration projects can be carried out as soon as would be desirable.
- By way of example, I was told that two mosques on Rhodes were renovated with public funds in the past years, but two other mosque renovation projects on Kos have been awaiting funding since 2008.
- On Kos, I heard complaints that the project of the extension of the harbour requires the destruction of three buildings belonging to the Muslim vakf, including one former mosque. But the “mosque” building in question looks like a simple shack, with a corrugated iron roof, and was not used for worship for some time. It was built illegally, like the other two buildings concerned. The conflict, in which the Turkish Consulate got involved on the side of the Muslim community, is not yet resolved. I also heard that a small number of Muslim fundamentalists are opposing any compromise solution, such as the provision of an alternative prayer site offered by the Greek authorities. A court case is now pending before the Greek Supreme Court.
- My own impression is that the authorities’ professed attachment to the cosmopolitan cultural heritage of the islands is genuine – it coincides with the Greek state’s own interests, as the historical monuments are important attractions for tourism, the islands’ main source of revenue. Given the foreseeable budgetary situation of Greece, one avenue to mobilise additional funding for cultural heritage projects on the islands could be a more efficient and transparent administration of the Muslim vakfs (see above, b.).
3.4. The organisation of Muslim worship
- About one third of the Muslim population of Rhodes and Kos regularly attend mosque; they seem to belong mostly to the older generation. Two mosques function on each island, others are closed, as I was told, for lack of public and/or because they are in need of renovation.
- The organisation of Muslim worship is complicated by the fact that it is unclear who is in charge. In 1947, when the Dodecanese was attached to Greece, the Mufti of Rhodes remained in office as religious leader. On Kos, another Mufti remained in office unofficially until his death in 1962. After 1947, a conflict developed between the Mufti of Rhodes, who represented conservative, old-fashioned Muslims, and the Turkish Consulate, which favoured a modernist, kemalist and pro-Turkish ideology and campaigned for the appointment of a new Mufti. The Greek Government openly supported the existing Mufti and prevented the renewal of the Mufti office of Kos, in order to protect the authority of the Mufti of Rhodes. After the death of the Mufti of Rhodes in 1961 and of his successor in 1974, the latter’s deputy acted as Mufti until 1992. But as of 1984, the official status of the Mufti of Rhodes was in question. Whilst the Mufti of Komotini sent Ismail Cakir Salimoglu to Rhodes in 1990, as Imam, in order to maintain operational the Mufti office of Rhodes, the Greek state did not officially appoint any Mufti, although the highest representatives of the State treated Mr. Salimoglu as the highest religious authority of the islands on various ceremonial occasions. At the same time, the Ministry of Education and Cults denied him official recognition as a Mufti, arguing that the number of Mufti Offices all over Greece is determined by a Law of 1928 which does not mention such an office at Rhodes. Which is not surprising, as the islands were not part of Greece in 1928.
- The resulting situation is somewhat unsatisfactory. The current de facto officeholder, 77 years old and apparently not undisputed in his own community, does not receive a proper salary or pension (as did his predecessors, and other Muftis in Greece recognised by the state), and, according to the administrative courts, is not even covered by the state social insurance, which does in principle foresee coverage for religious ministers – but the administrative courts did not recognise Mr. Salimoglu’s appointment as Imam either. The disputed status of the Mufti (or Imam) of Rhodes may also have contributed to the refusal of the Rhodes vakf council to open up the second mosque, which is in principle fully functional, for Friday prayers .
- In my view, it is the responsibility of the Greek state to solve this problem. The Law of 1928 should be updated to take into account the inclusion of Rhodes and Kos in the Greek national territory. Some interlocutors on the islands having a Turkish cultural background told me that it may not really be necessary to have a Mufti on Rhodes or Kos at all; but the law should clarify who is the proper religious authority for the Muslims living on these islands.
- The situation of the inhabitants of Rhodes and Kos with a Turkish cultural background is generally satisfactory, in view of the tangible commitment of the Greek authorities to protect and further develop the multicultural, cosmopolitan character of the islands.
- The problems that still exist – in particular as regards Turkish language classes, the administration of the Muslim religious foundations (vakfs) and the unclear organisation of Muslim worship can be solved by the following three concrete measures :
– an information campaign among parents of all schoolchildren on the islands, including those with a Turkish cultural background, to inform them of the availability of Turkish language afternoon classes organised by the educational authorities upon parental request;
– ensure full accountability of the administrators of the two public Vakfs before the members of the local Muslim communities, including appointments of administrators at regular intervals and the publicity of their accounts;
– ensure that the Muslim communities of Rhodes and Kos are free to choose their religious preachers (Imams), in the spirit of Resolution 1704 (2010) .
Council of Europe Parlimentary Assembly
Resolution 1867 (2012) Final version
“The situation of the Greek citizens of Turkish descent in Rhodes and Kos”
Author(s): Parliamentary Assembly
Origin: Text adopted by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of the Assembly, on 9 March 2012 (see Doc. 12526, report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, rapporteur: Mr Gross).
Eurovoc •language teaching, •regions of Greece •sociocultural group •cultural pluralism
- The Parliamentary Assembly notes that the inhabitants of Rhodes and Kos with a Turkish cultural background are generally well integrated into the multicultural societies of the two islands. They are proud to be fully fledged Greek citizens and to participate in the economic development of the islands.
- The Assembly commends the Greek Government for its genuine commitment to maintaining and developing the two islands’ cosmopolitan character, in particular by protecting their historical monuments without discrimination. The islands’ multiculturalism is the fruit of their rich history, which includes four centuries of generally tolerant Ottoman Turkish rule.
- The good level of understanding between the majority population and the different minority groups, including those with a Turkish cultural background, is an important asset for the economic development of the two islands, and in particular for their attractiveness for tourism, their main source of revenue.
- The Assembly notes that supporting the Turkish language, heritage and culture, and promoting a better awareness of them, would benefit not only the inhabitants with a Turkish cultural background, but also their neighbours with Greek or other cultural backgrounds, given the proximity of these islands to major tourist areas on the Turkish coast and the still largely untapped potential for regional co-operation in the field of tourism and commerce.
- It therefore welcomes the readiness expressed by the Greek authorities to facilitate, upon the parents’ request, afternoon classes in Turkish language and culture taught by qualified teachers, under the supervision of the island’s authorities and the Ministry of Education with the involvement of and funding (if necessary) by Turkish-speaking citizens. Moreover, the Greek authorities are invited to consider reopening Turkish language community schools.
- Three other issues require the authorities’ attention: the apparent lack of transparency and accountability in the administration of the Muslim religious foundations (wakfs), the unclear status of the Muslim religious leadership on the two islands and the restoration of monuments of the rich Muslim Ottoman heritage, which is an integral part of the islands’ heritage.
- The Assembly therefore invites the Greek authorities to:
7.1. conduct an information campaign among parents of all schoolchildren on the two islands to inform them of the possibility of offering classes in the Turkish language organised by the educational authorities in consultation with Turkish-speaking citizens;
7.2. ensure full transparency and accountability regarding the administration of the two public Muslim wakfs in Rhodes and Kos, which are legal persons of public law both before the Greek State and before the members of the local Muslim communities, including by renewing, in an open and transparent way, their councils by elections at regular intervals and securing to every member of the said communities the right to have full access to their public accounts;
7.3. ensure that the Muslim citizens in Rhodes and Kos are free to choose their religious preachers and leaders, whose rights and duties should be clarified;
7.4. continue the restoration program of Islamic and Ottoman monuments, which are an integral part of the cultural heritage of the two islands, in co-operation with Muslim associations and with all necessary respect for the integrity of the historic monuments;
7.5. intensify their dialogue with the representatives of the islands’ Greek citizens of Turkish descent, in order to resolve the above, and any other, issues of concern (namely, property rights and citizenship problems) in the spirit of mutual respect and understanding that characterises the unique cosmopolitan nature of the islands of Rhodes and Kos.
- The Assembly reiterates its invitation to the Greek authorities to ratify the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (ETS No. 157).
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Kaymakçı,M.,2012.A.Gross’a yazılan 9 Kasım 2012 tarihli Mektup
“Rhodes, Kos and the Dodacanese Turks
Culture and Solidarity Association
Prof. Dr. Mustafa Kaymakçı 9 November 2012
Mr. Andreas Gross,
Rapporteur of the Committee on Legal and Human Rights
Council of Europe
Avenue d l’Europe
F – 67075
Dear Mr. Andreas Gross,
I am the President of the “Association of Turks of Rhodes, Kos and Dodecanese” which was established in 1996 in İzmir/Turkey and represents approximately 70.000 people mostly those who were forced to immigrate from Dodecanese to Turkey and their descendants. In writing this letter, I intend to bring to your attention the problems of Turks of Dodecanese as a follow up to our Association’s Vice President, Mr. Ahmet Kırevliyası’s and your e-mails of last week. Had we believed that it would be safe for us and our family members that are still living in the islands, I would rather prefer to come to Rhodes to talk to you in person and explain our problems. Let me thank you for giving me the opportunity to express myself in writing, as a reply to your e-mail addressed to Mr Kırevliyası.
Let me elaborate shortly our problems.
First and foremost, the Turkish population in Rhodes and Kos has been deprived of minority rights as well as the rights emanating from international human rights conventions signed under the aegis of the UN and CoE. Turkish schools in Rhodes and Kos ceased to operate in 1972 as a result of a decision by the Greek Government and remain closed, despite the fact that there is a need and an adequate number of students. There are approximately 600 students who are deprived of the right to education in their mother tongue in the islands. Another issue related to education is the lack of religious classes for these 600 Muslim students in the schools.
As for the religious rights, only one of the still existing 14 mosques in Rhodes is open for religious services. This mosque, namely the İbrahim Pasha Mosque, is insufficient due to its small size. The Süleymaniye Mosque is closed since 1978 was recently opened exceptionally for religious service. Needless to say, as I am sure you observed the state of Recep Pasha Mosque and the Murat Reis Complex, the Greek authorities are reluctant to care about the protection of the examples of Ottoman cultural heritage.
Moreover, the number of imams in Rhodes and Kos is also insufficient. The Greek authorities do not permit the Turkish population in Rhodes and Kos to meet the demand of new imams.
In addition, Greece has been interfering with the administration of the Muslim charitable foundations (the Waqfs) which were used to support cultural life and social welfare of the Turkish Muslim community. Turkish/Muslim charitable foundations in Rhodes and Kos are also subjected to the discriminatory law introduced in 1980 which further weakened them financially and diluted the community’s right to control them. But most notably, the practice by consecutive Greek governments of appointing Vakf administrators, which is in place since 1967, as opposed to allowing them to be elected by the Turkish Muslim Minority has led to mismanagement.
Problems of the Turkish population who had to migrate from Rhodes and Kos to Turkey are also worrisome. Turkish minority members who lost their citizenship mainly because of the notorious Article 19 of the Greek Citizenship Law in addition to many hardships they face, could not return to Greece even as tourists. Let me emphasize the property issue which seems to explain the negative attitude of the local Greek authorities. We are a people who faced an unbearable pressure from the Greek authorities and thus had to leave their homeland. Our number rose following the closure of our schools. Our properties are confiscated or sold by using fake authorization documents. Those who lost their citizenship and denied the necessary visa or the entry to Greece were consequently deprived from their rights to claim their properties. The heirs of those who passed away are deprived from the right to access any official document to certify their relationship or the very fact that their late relatives survived on those islands. All of this, Mr. Gross, leads me to say that thousands of properties have been plundered.
And the same happened to waqf properties as well.
Most of the problems listed above are due to the collapse of a system which was functional during Italian rule and even later according to the Greek laws and regulations. This system comprised of three important elements, namely the community (cemaat) administration, the office of Mufti and the waqf administration. Despite the fact that actually in Rhodes there exist a Jewish Community, activities of the “Rhodes Turkish Community” founded in 1912 were banned in 1967 and it was closed down in 1987. The seat of the Mufti which was created in 1925 still remains vacant. As for the waqfs, the executive board members of the waqfs are run since 1967 by persons appointed by the Greek Government. Today, all three elements of this system legally exist. But in practice, two of them are nonexistent and the last one is not functioning properly. Our plea from you, Mr. Gross, to make a call to the Greek authorities to revitalize these three elements. This is the only way to overcome the problems of Turks living in Dodecanese.
We, as the members of the Association of Turks of Rhodes, Kos and Dodecanese, wish to see further improved relations between Turkey and Greece, because we have close relatives living in these islands. We want to be able to travel in tranquility to these islands where we were born. But the prerequisite for this is to establish a relationship observing and respecting the human rights.
In light of your personal experience during your visits to Rhodes and Kos on 21-22 April 2010 and 19-21 February 2012, we are kindly asking you to make our problems heard by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the CoE.
Please accept my highest regards.
Prof. Dr. Mustafa Kaymakçı
President of the Association of Turks of Rhodes, Kos and Dodecanese