The protection of human and minority rights constitutes the core work of the Council of Europe. That is why the Parliamentary Assembly discussed a report on "Gökçeada (Imbros) and Bozcaada (Tenedos): preserving the bicultural character of the two Turkish islands as a model for co-operation between Turkey and Greece in the interest of the people concerned".
The situation of the Turkish minority in Rhodes (Rodos) and Kos (Istanköy) in Greece should also be addressed. Their minority rights seem to remain a cause of concern for the Turkish community.
The minority rights enshrined in the Lausanne Peace Treaty of 1923 and European standards on minority rights should be applied to persons of Turkish ethnic origin of those islands. The fact that those islands were not part of Greece when the Lausanne Peace Treaty was signed should not be a reason to deprive the Turkish population on the islands of their minority rights.
The Assembly recalls that the population of the Turkish minority on the islands continues to decline since 1967.
Turkish schools in Rhodes (Rodos) and Kos (Istanköy) ceased to operate in 1972. According to the latest information received, the Turkish minority on the islands is denied the right to education in their mother tongue. They are not even allowed to organise weekend schools or additional classes.
The Turkish minority on the islands encounter restrictions in practicing their religion. The seat of the Mufti has remained vacant since 1972. Only one of the still existing 12 mosques in Rhodes (Rodos) is open for religious services.
In view of the above,