The Kokkinakis Papers

27 May, 2017

Central European University, Budapest

On 27 May 2017 the international conference ‘The Kokkinakis Papers: Taking Stock of 25 years of ECHR Jurisprudence on Freedom of Religion or Belief‘, convened by Cole W. Durham, Malcolm Evans, Jeroen Temperman and Jeremy T. Gunn, took place at the Central European University in Budapest. This conference brought together the authors of a volume planned for the 25th anniversary of the Kokkinakis v. Greece judgment of the European Court of Human Rights. The aim of the conference and the planned volume is to explore the depths and developments of ECtHR jurisprudence, as well as the broader context and implications of this case law from a wide range of perspectives.

Effie Fokas presented her Grassrootsmobilise-based research on ‘Kokkinakis at the Grassroots Level’, considering the extent to which grassroots level actors know about the case of Kokkinakis and see in it an opportunity to further their own religion-related rights claims, the extent to which the case inspired social actors such as rights activists, cause lawyers or faith group members, to mobilise for their own religion-related rights, whether in court, in the halls of government, or in the streets, and whether Kokkinakis left a mark on the individual citizen with concerns to do with religious freedoms.


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The ECtHR as a Venue for Greco-Turkish Relations: The Treaty of Lausanne and the Muslim Minority in Western Thrace

Margarita Markoviti

Working Paper 3, v. 4 May 2017

Since the early 1990s, Greece’s record at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) over religious freedoms violations has been exceptional. More than simply indicating the challenges Greece has been facing in the treatment of religious diversity and the simultaneous prevalence of the Christian Orthodox Church, these convictions by the ECtHR have exposed a further weakness of the country, namely the consequences of its policies towards the Muslim minority in Western Thrace. In spite of certain limited attempts, the seclusion and even neglect of this minority of about 120,000 people (consisting of Ethnic Turks, Pomaks and Roma), who have remained in the region following the forced exchange of population and the signing between Greece and Turkey of the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, has long formed a topic of academic and political discussion (Anagnostou & Triandafyllidou 2009, Tsitselikis 2012). In the light of recurrent debates in Greece over the minority’s identity and the implications of its continued segregation, as well as the tensions following Turkish prime minister’s statements that question the premises of the Treaty of Lausanne, the ECtHR has increasingly represented the venue that minority members themselves turn to in order to claim their rights (see Serif v Greece, Agga v Greece, Xanthi Turkish Union and Others v Greece, including a current case over the application of sharia law and the rights of inheritance for the Muslim minority women). This paper uses socio-legal and mobilization theories and seeks to contribute to an emerging scholarship on the “radiating effects” (Galanter 1983) of Court’s decisions in a European context. The original findings draw on semi-structured interviews with the key actors involved in the interaction between the Greek state, the Muslim minority and the ECtHR. By focusing specifically on national policies towards the minority of Western Thrace, the paper thus argues that one of the key “radiating effects” of the ECtHR has been the creation of a venue where Greco-Turkish relations are tested and where long-established historic conventions are currently being challenged, once again, within the context of religion.

Download: Markoviti – GRM Working Paper 2017

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Presentation on the Dynamics of State-Religion Relations and Citizen Mobilization in Present-day Romania

9 May, 2017

Institute for East European Studies, Freie Universität Berlin

Postdoctoral researcher Mihai Popa recently presented aspects of his research at the Freie Universität Berlin’s Institute for East European Studies, in a presentation entitled ‘Towards a Pro-Family Constitution: Dynamics of State-Religion Relations and Citizen Mobilization in Present-day Romania’.

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Grassrootsmobilise Presentations on Religious Minorities and the ECtHR at ASN World Convention

4 May, 2017

ASN World Convention, Harriman Institute, Columbia University, New York

Margarita Markoviti and Ceren Ozgul recently presented aspects of their research relating to religious minorities and the ECtHR at the Annual World Convention of the Association for the Study of Nationalities (ASN) which took place from 4-6 May 2017 at the International Affairs Building, Harriman Institute, Columbia University in New York. They participated in a panel on ‘Religious Minorities in the Post-Ottoman Space’ in the section on ‘Turkey, Greece & Cyprus’, with presentations on ‘The ECtHR as a venue for Greco-Turkish relations: The Treaty of Lausanne and the Muslim Minority in Western Thrace’ and ‘Religious Minorities without Legal Status: The Lausanne Treaty and the Right to Property Cases against Turkey in the ECtHR’ respectively.

Further information is available here.

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