News in Bet-Nahren, Assyria

Assyrians in Turkey: Our Minority Rights Should Be Recognized
by Kurdish Observer (English version of Özgür Politika)
Posted: Monday, August 28, 2000 06:28 pm CST


The Assyrians in Turkey have given a report to the President, Prime Minister and other officials for education in their language. The report which was prepared by the Assyrian Community argued that education in primary, secondary and high schools should be in Assyrian. There are 7 items in the report and it asks for the rights of Assyrians to be put under constitutional protection.

The Christian Assyrian Community pointed the difficulties that the Assyrian community have been facing in Turkey. The community sent letters to the President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit with signatures of Deyrulumur Minister Samuel Aktas and the Minister of Istanbul and Ankara Yusuf Cetin. The report pointed that Assyrians leave the country because of the oppression. “Assyrians leave the country for Europe because they can not practice their language, religion and culture” concluded the report. The report further concluded, “Turkey’s cultural mosaic should be allowed to get lost”. In addition, the report clarified the concept of minority rights and said, “As Turkey’s Assyrian Community, we have expectations from Republic of Turkey in regard to law and human rights.”

The report asked for education in Assyrian starting from primary schools to high schools. It also asked for removal of obstacles in front of broadcasting and publishing in Assyrian.

Isa Cicek, the Minister for Middle European Assyrians, who have been in Turkey for last couple of days with a group of 60 Assyrians and visiting Assyrian monasteries and residential areas, said that Turkey should give the rights that Europe already have recognized. Cicek said, "Recognized rights should be put under state's protection. Cultural and social rights of the Assyrians in Europe have been put under states' protection. For example, The Netherlands have recognized this right for us. The government allow us to get education and practice our religion in our mother tongue. Unfortunately, Turkey have not recognized these rights.”

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