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Western Thrace Fenerbahce Association ordered to close

Western Thrace Fenerbahce Association ordered to close
By Newsroom
Jun 2, 2024 10:01 AM

Komotini Civil Court orders closure of Western Thrace Fenerbahce Supporters’ Sports-Culture Association, citing concerns that its name implying a Turkish minority presence

The Western Thrace Fenerbahce Supporters’ Sports-Culture Association in Greece’s Komotini (Gumulcine), has been ordered to shut down due to concerns that the name “Western Thrace” implies a Turkish minority presence.

The closure case, discussed at the Komotini Civil Court on Sept. 6, 2023, concluded on May 28. The court ruled that the association’s name could suggest a Turkish minority.

“The decision of the closure case initiated by the Rhodope Prosecutor’s Office against our Western Thrace Fenerbahce Supporters’ Sports and Culture Association has been announced. As a result of the case heard before the Rhodope Civil Court, the court has decided to close our association,” the association stated on social media.

First Case Withdrawn in 2023

The Western Thrace Fenerbahce Supporters’ Sports-Culture Association began its activities in October 2022 after receiving all necessary permits from the relevant court in Komotini.

The first closure case against the association, filed in June 2023, ended in favor of the association after the prosecutor withdrew the application.

In the indictment prepared by Komotini Prosecutor Maria Kapetanyanni in March 2023, it was argued that the minority is a Muslim minority, rejecting the Turkish identity.

The association’s name was claimed to be illegal on the grounds that it could imply a Turkish minority, and a closure request was made.

Alleged Threat to Public Security

Former President of the Supreme Court of Greece and former Prime Minister Vasiliki Thanu also called for the closure of the Western Thrace Fenerbahce Supporters’ Sports-Culture Association, arguing that it posed a threat to public security.

In an article, Thanu claimed that the association was a threat to public security and should be closed.

Thanu argued that the term “Western Thrace” in the association’s name is only used by Türkiye and called on Greek courts to reconsider the decision.

The Party of Friendship, Equality and Peace (DEB), which defends the rights of the Western Thrace Turkish minority in Greece and was founded in 1991, condemned the decision in a post on its official X account.

“We Are Astonished! On May 30, 2024, we learned with great concern the decision of the Komotini (Gumulcine) Civil Court to shut down the Western Thrace Fenerbahçe Supporters’ Association. We are deeply troubled by our country’s Greece’s continued policy of looking for a scapegoat and thus harming minority institutions,” DEB stated.

“The mindset that cannot even tolerate the existence of an association formed by people supporting a sports club has nothing to do with democracy. Unfortunately, another unjustly closed association of our minority has been added, and our country’s democracy has taken a step back. We declare our solidarity with the Western Thrace Fenerbahçe Supporters’ Association and demand the immediate reversal of the unjust closure decision!”

During Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ visit to Ankara, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had written on his official X account that Türkiye expected positive atmosphere “in our relations to contribute to meeting the rights of the Turkish minority and our compatriots in Greece.”

Speaking on minority issues, Mitsotakis had said: “I believe Greece treats our Muslim citizens well in the light of the principle of equal citizenship.”

Last Updated:  Jun 5, 2024 6:27 PM