An impressive and suspicious at the same time fact, is that she throws the Lausanne treaty in the garbage can, a treaty that establishes the status quo of the Greek-Turkish relations for the last 86 years, probably because she wants to find a way to review it.
In her report, the American who had visited Greece in September, literally speaks with venomous words for the so called 'supposedly homogeneous Greece' supporting that Greece mostly consists of at least three minorities, namely Turkish, "Macedonian" and the Roma. She also attacks against the Greek State for "attempting to establish the idea of an ethnically homogeneous state".
Not only urges the Greek government to recognize the "Macedonian" minority but also to protect the rights and their language and asks for the review of the Lausanne treaty (a treaty that even Turkey has recognize in it's own signature that there is no such thing as a ''turkish minority'') and the recognition of such a minority. In her report also describes the ''limitations of the minorities rights in Greece'' and calls for the Greek State to review it's behavior towards them.
We should also give further attention to the fact that the report does not comes for a ''usual suspect'' meaning the U.S. agency or U.S. government agency, but from the UN, despite the fact that the report has been written from an American citizen.
Especially in the issue of the recognition of a ''turkish minority'' which actually means the change of the content of the Lausanne treaty, special attention should be given from the Greek side because any review even to one article causes a rivew of the entire Lausanne treaty, in what ever this might mean for the Greek islands of East Aegean.
A lot of arguments were caused during her visits in Macedonia and Thrace. Besides the so-called «independent» expert of the United Nations for minorities Ms Gay McDougall had chosen to keep in mind, mainly the views of the protestants instead of the Greek government. Ms McDougall was in Greece from 8 to 16 of September 2008 in order to prepare a report on minorities in Thrace and in Florina.
The report of the independent expert's was released during the 10th Conference of the UN Human Rights Council, held in Geneva. A careful reading, proves that Mrs McDougall takes the most extreme elements of the Muslim minority (Turkish view) for granted but also attempts to validate the existence of «Macedonian» minority in Greece, a claim which is strongly promoted by the Nationalist Prime Minister of FYROM Mr. Nikola Gruevski.
In order to justify her interest in the supposedly "oppressed" minorities in Greece, this "independent" expert considers that «her concerns focus in the extent to which legislation, policies and practices meet their obligations under international law on human rights, including rights for minorities, which go beyond the bilateral treaties and agreements. The decision that a particular group should be protected as a minority has no impact on interstate relations. Minorities are the founding groups of Greek society, not a foreign element »
After a brief "human rights seminar", Mrs McDougall cuts to the chase and asks for the Greek government "not to disagree in the existence of Macedonian and Turkish minority in Greece and to focus on protecting the rights of self-determination, freedom of expression and freedom of trade union of those communities. Their rights (meaning the specific «minorities») must be kept in accordance with the Declaration on Minorities and the core of international human rights. Greece must fully comply with the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, specifically when those decisions provide that unions must be able to use the words «Macedonian» and «Turkish» and express their national identities freely ".
Moving within (supposedly) independent scientific spirit, she characterizes the perception that minority issues should be determined by "old international treaties" outdated, referring indirectly to the Treaty of Lausanne. Mrs McDougall cite the Greek government that the perspective of minorities is restrictive and does not cover modern standards because it remains attached to the historic view of the ethnic minorities created by the dissolution of empires.
The government does not recognize a ''Macedonian'' ethnic minority existence living in Central and Western Macedonia ... Successive governments pursue a policy of denial of the "Macedonian" ethnic community and the "Macedonian" language which is not recognized nor taught ..» referring in the report, which also projects the requests of extreme clubs for a reference of toponyms in "Macedonian" language as well, even using the example of Florina / Lerin
The Greek government can neither recognize a minority with the same name, as the majority, nor build non-Greek schools and churches with the same name. Greek courts have offered to open cultural centers for their minority, under a different name (than Macedonian). They have refused. As long as they use the term "Macedonian" to describe their nationality, their minority in Greece cannot be recognized as such, since the same name is used by the Greeks of Macedonia to describe themselves for much longer that the written history of any Slavic tribe.
In order to support her arguments concerning the alleged existence of the Turkish minority in Western Thrace, the «independent» Mrs McDougall takes advantage of the existence of the Turkish Consulate in Komotini, indicating that «.. from the moment the members of the Muslim minority are Greek citizens, it has been allowed to Turkey to maintain a Consulate in Western Thrace and to interfere in the affairs relating to the Muslim minority .. ».
However it is important to note that the independent expert «buries» the reports of the Pomaks and Roma, who complained that they receive heavy pressure in order for them to speak the Turkish language and to define themselves as Turks!
This report raise some questions that need answer from Mrs McDouggal:.
- Since the visit of this «independent expert» in Greece was official in order to present a report in the UN for Greece, then how is it possible not to inform the official state for her actions but instead acted as if she was a representative of a foreign power in the country? How is it possible for her to present a report as a result of an official visit from the UN when the only people who were «accompanying» her were the Rainbow party representatives that got her away like she was a fugitive? In final analysis, it is possible to speak for minorities when during the «historical» meeting in a cafeshop she spoke with 15-20 people who were presented as a whole «minority»?
- How It is possible in an official document of the UN to mention that Muslim is a Turk and that «people» of western and northern Macedonia are not Greek? A representative of the UN may use «sources», which only cause erroneous impressions without even approaching people who have an opposite view. How it is possible since in a way she conducts an «anthropological» research to close out the one side and from the other side simply refers to the positions of the Greek government as «impersonal» and has not shown the slightest interest in talking to everyday local people?
- Since the «independent expert» is really interested for any human rights of any «oppressed» human and since she stated that the Pomaks indeed are being opresses from the Turks, why doesn't she mentions that the «Turks / Muslims» are actually a factor of «oppression» and that for any reason they are not the ones who have been «oppressed»? In other words, her conclusions may not make clear that «Muslims» are not equal to «Turkish» ?
- Ultimately, how it is possible for an «independent researcher» not to see how the concept of «minority», not only in our region, but especially on it, has a deep historical, political and military role particularly where boundaries are changing and people lost ? Did she ever hear the "Macedonian salad" expression?
- Is it an accident that extreme nationalist clubs of Fyrom, like the extreme-right party of Gruevski 's VMRO and AMHRC and MHRMI organisations "celebrated" for the content of the report?
- How is it possible for her to reject the cultural identity of 2,5 million Greeks of Macedonia, over a small group pf Slavmacedonians?
With this report Gay J. McDougall shows that she has no respect as regards the Greek cultural Identity, but the only that she cares is the US political views since her report complies with the reports that have published from the US State Department and not with the UN views.
Written by Akritas
Edited by Ariadni_Nefeli
1]- A/HRC/10/11/Add.3, 18 February 2009
2]- The Lausanne Treaty was signed on 24 July 1923 by the British Empire, France, Italy, Japan, Greece, Romania, and the "Serbo-Croat-Slovene" State on one part and Turkey on the other. The treaty provided for the independence of the Republic of Turkey but also for the protection of the ethnic Greek minority in Turkey and the mainly Muslim minority in Greece (Turks, Pomaks and Roma).