Note to editors – 100(2008)
Strasbourg, 03.06.2008 – The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) has urged Turkey to take “a positive attitude” to the small number of ethnic Greeks still living on the Turkish Aegean islands of Gökçeada (Imbros) and Bozcaada (Tenedos) and their descendants.
In a draft resolution approved yesterday, the committee welcomed a number of positive gestures already taken, but called for the fair settlement of education and land issues concerning ethnic Greeks, and steps to repair the damage done to the natural and cultural heritage of the islands.
The population of the islands had “suffered too long” from the consequences of the different crises in relations between Greece and Turkey, the committee said. “A positive attitude … would also be an excellent example of Turkey’s willingness to overcome outdated nationalist attitudes and to embrace European values of good neighbourliness,” it added.
Such positive action to preserve the bicultural character of the islands could serve as “a model for co-operation” between Greece and Turkey, the parliamentarians said, pointing out that its report stemmed from a “historic” joint visit to the islands in 2005 by the then heads of the Greek and Turkish parliamentary delegations to PACE, Elsa Papademetriou and Murat Murcan.
The resolution, based on a report by Andreas Gross (Switzerland, SOC), is due to be debated by PACE in Friday 27 June during its forthcoming plenary session in Strasbourg (23-27 June 2008).