Greece’s Supreme Court has rejected an appeal filed by the Xanthi Turkish Union (İTB) to allow the use of the term “Turk” in the organization’s name.
Despite the 2008 decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which found Greece guilty of breaching Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Freedom of Association, the Greek Supreme judicial body stated that the ECHR decision was non-binding and that the court had neglected to consider “political” factors in its decision.
The ECHR decision ordered the re-legalization of the Turkish organization and supported the minorities’ right to use ethnic names for their organizations.
In November 1987, along with other Turkish organizations of western Thrace, the Turkish Union of Xanthi was banned because the word “Turk” in their title as a description for members of the Muslim minority of Greece endangered public order, as it should be used only to refer to Turkish citizens.
Ever since, the İTB has been in a legal fight with the Greek state. The Union’s President, Ahmet Kara, claimed to be completely surprised by the Court’s decision, which shuts down the organization.