Ankara Backs Turkish Complaints About North Macedonia Census Result

Turkey said on Thursday that it supports the legitimate demands of the Turks in North Macedonia for a just and transparent census, following claims by a local ethnic Turkish association that the number of Turks recorded in the recent census is unrealistically low.

"During the process [the census], the representatives of the Turkish community in the country [North Macedonia] sent several appeals urging for the headcount to be conducted justly, transparently and without [leaving space for] any doubts. The census results have shown that these calls, unfortunately, have been ignored," Turkey's Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Tanju Bilgiç, told media on Thursday.

This came after the National Coordinative Body for the Census of Turkish People in North Macedonia, a body that unites Turkish NGO's, political parties and intellectuals, dismissed the results of the headcount that showed only a marginal increase in the number of Turks.

"We deem the published numbers and percentage of Turks unrealistic, and as such we are not going to accept the census results," it said.

"The rights of the Turkish people, who are among the state-building communities in the Republic of North Macedonia, have been violated," the coordinative body told BIRN.

The results of the headcount, published on Wednesday, showed that the Turkish community remains the third largest, with more than 70,000 people, or 3,86 per cent of the of the population being Turks.

This is just one hundred of a per cent more than during the previous headcount in 2002 which showed 3,85 per cent.

This body which was formed in 2021 with a specific task to oversee the headcount of the Turkish population in the country, as part of the nationwide census which took place in September,...

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