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Who are the Assyrian-Suryoye ?
by Dr. Gabriele Yonan
Posted: Friday, November 10, 2000 10:02 am CST

On Wednesday 8th November the Assyrian-Chaldean-Syriac Union (ACSU) met with key members of the EU Parliament, in Brussels, and informed them of the claims of the Assyrian-Suryoye people in Turkey.

The EU Commission, in Brussels, compiled a document from the claims that were made. Turkey has to fulfill these basic claims before negotiations of Turkish EU membership can begin.

Turkey will be asked to answer to these claims in December, 2000. For the Assyrians it is a great chance to draw attention to the still unsolved Assyrian issue in Turkey and their claims to be officially acknowledged as a Christian minority, as the Lausanne treaty specifically states.

The Assyrian delegation met with the following EU members : Mr. Morillon (EU P,Christdemocrat) Mr. Sakellariou (Germany, Socialdemocrat) M. A. Druff (EU P Great Britain)
as well as several others. (Cohn-Bendit, Wiersma, Pirker, Swoboda)

The English text, which was distributed to all members of the EU Parliament, has been attached below.

Report compiled by Dr. Gabriele Yonan

Who are the Assyrian-Suryoye ?

The Assyrian-Suryoyo people are the most ancient people in the Middle-East. The Assyrian-Suryoyo people have been able to maintain their culture till today, after a history of more than 6000 years. Their contributions for human civilization are numerous. The base of the high technology, commerce and communication today in the world has its origin in the time of the old Assyrians and Babylonians.

Beside these, the Assyrian-Suryoye played a key role in the spread of the Christian religion. It were the Assyrian-Suryoye that converted themselves massively to christianity. The Assyrian-Suryoyo monasteries and churches, that are more than 2000 years old, are a magnificent proove for that.

In the 20th century our human rights were denied systematically through several treaties. One of these treaties is the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923. The countries that together with Turkey played a role in the realization of the treaty of Lausanne and therefore were responsible for the destiny of the Assyrian-Suryoye did nothing to prevent the Assyrians-Suryoye to reach the edge of extermination.

The Assyrian-Suryoye people look forward to the candidacy of the Turkey within the European Union. Their hope is that a possible memberhip of the EU could advance the process of democratization in Turkey. However, the rights of the Assyrian-Suryoyes that were neglected by the treaty of Lausanne, should be taken care of.

Therefore the Assyrian-Suryoye people have the following demands to the EU and all other countries:

  • Recognition of the identity and the guarantee of all rights for the Assyrian-Suryoye by the United Nations and the EU.
  • The criteria of Copenhagen should be the guide of the negotiations with Turkey concerning the rights of the Assyrian- Suryoye people.

We ask the European Union to demand the following from Turkey:

  • The ending of the extermination- and denial policy concerning the Assyrian- Suryoye people.
  • Recognition of the Assyrian- Suryoye as an ethnical minority.
    • Immediate application of the acknowledged rights of the treaty of Lausanne ( the clauses that concern the non- Islamites)
  • Abolition of all oppression on the Assyrian- Suryoye people, caused by the difference in religion.
  • The return of all properties of the Assyrian- Suryoye churches and the rehabilitation of the East Assyrian Church and the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antiochia caused by the banishment of the patriarchs of these mentioned churches.
  • The right to be educated in our own Syriac language, the recognition of our social and cultural rights, the right to found schools, institutions and associations.
  • The right to found a press and media in our own Syriac language. Constitutional guarantee of all rights for the Assyrian - Suryoye people and the abolition of all restrictions hereon.
  • The return of all property of Assyrian- Suryoye ( houses, villages, land etc) and the notarial fixation hereof.The facilitating of the return of the Assyrian- Suryoye to their original area and the restoration of order in that area.
  • The trial of the murderers of in the last fifteen years killed Assyrians- Suryoye.Recognition of the right to renovate, rebuilding and protect the old Assyrian historical buildings like churches and monasteries.

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