|Assyrian Awareness: Organizations Responses
Turkish State Security Council (SSC) Commissioned a Report on the Assyrians
by Sabahattin Onkibar, 'MGK’ya Süryani Raporu', 6 March 2000, Türkiye
Translated by Dr. Racho Donef
Posted: Sunday, March 11, 2001 07:05 pm CST
A report was prepared on the subject of anti-Turkish Syriani, Assyrian and Chaldean activities. This subject was also on the agenda of the SSC in the past months when a 14-page report was presented. Organisations working against Turkey allege that 500,000 Assyrians, Syrianis and Chaldeans were massacred by the Turks.
According to the report:
- It is asserted that among the millions of Assyrians, Syrianis and Chaldeans dispersed in 35 countries in the world, 300,000 of them live within the borders of the EU.
- Assyrians, Syrianis and Chaldeans, principally in the US and Canada, and in many countries of the world, through organizations promote Assyrian, Syriani and Chaldean identity and nationalism and through newspapers, magazines, the Internet, academic environment and institutions carry on with their activities.
- The Assyrian International News Agency, located in the USA is spreading information that interest all Assyrians, Syrianis and Chaldeans, and facilitates communication among them.
- A research organization, the Canadian Society for Syriac Studies, located in Ontario, organises academic meetings with the participation of teaching staff and publishes articles and books.
- The Assyrian Universal Alliance the main office of which is in the USA is working towards uniting all Assyrians, Syrianis and Chaldeans organizations and parties under one roof.
- The Assyrian, Syriani and Chaldean Union, main office of which is in the Swedish city of Södertälje, is carrying out propaganda activities especially focusing on Iraq and Turkey and it is the most active organization in Europe.
- The Assyrian Democratic Organization, which has branches in the USA, Canada, Europe and Sweden, is an umbrella organization working towards organising Syrianis/Assyrians and Chaldeans at international level.
- Assyrian, Syriani and Chaldean organizations operating in Germany mainly work on issues relating to the situation of their Iraqi brethren. However, generally co-operate with other Armenian organizations and associations to carry out anti-Turkish activities.
- On 29 October 2000 an Assyrian/Syriani middle school, which teaches in post-primary grades of 7, 8 and 9, was inaugurated in Sweden. This is the second such school after the first Assyrian/Syriani school in Duho/Northern Iraq. Financial support was provided by Assyrian aid organization in Iraq and the USA and the Lutheran Churches in Stuttgart and Bavaria (in 2000 75,000 US dollars aid).
- Since 1985 all these organizations allege that genocide was not only perpetrated against the Greeks and the Armenians but also against them and that 400 to 500,000 Assyrians, Syrianis and Chaldeans were subjected to genocide. They publish so-called historical documents, articles and books to prove genocide and ask for compensation for their brethren who were subjected to the so-called genocide.
Activities of the Assyrians, Syrianis and Chaldeans in 2000-2001:
Parallel to the intensification of the discussions about Turkey’s entry to the EU, an increase of anti-Turkish activities have been observed; activities that may be put under the banner of the so-called Armenian genocide have been carried out since April 2000, with the participation of the Syrianis/Assyrians and Chaldeans. The main activities were:
- In April 2000 hunger strikes were carried out in Sweden and the Netherlands, making the following demands:
- “To condemn the Turks who barbarously killed 500 thousand Syrianis/Assyrians and Chaldeans!”
- “To recognise the national identity and social and cultural rights of the Syrianis/Assyrians and Chaldeans”
- “To recognise the genocide perpetrated in 1915 and end the oppression Syrianis/Assyrians and Chaldeans are currently experiencing in Turkey”.
- On 17 April 2000, the Assyrian/Chaldean-Syriani Union of Sweden sent an open letter to the European parliament and Turkish delegation with the heading “Turkey’s EU candidacy – the heritage of a culture that is made to disappear”. In this letter, it is alleged that Turkey does not permit church and monastery repairs; and, that Turkey is trying to expunge the cultural and religious heritage of the Assyrians/Syrianis. In the area they call, “Tur Abdin Region” in the South Eastern Anatolia, they list supposedly ruined churches and monasteries and a list of residential areas allegedly confiscated or destroyed by the Turkish state since 1980 has been added. They asked that the European Parliament uses Syriani/Assyrian and Chaldean issues as means to pressure Turkey in the negotiations.
- On 24 June 2000 Assyrian/Syriani protesters occupied the Lausanne Municipal building and demanded that pressure applied to Turkey to fulfil its Lausanne Treaty obligations.
- On 18 November 2000, USA, Canadian, European and Swedish Assyrian Democratic Associations have published a statement to condemn the arrest of the orthodox Syriani priest Yusuf Akbulut.
- On 27 January 2001, in order to support the death fast hunger strike action in Turkish prisons, approximately 4000 PKK and extreme left sympathisers organised a demonstration in Cologne. The demonstration was named “total resistance against the total attack” and 14 organizations took part. Some organisers openly spoke of PKK and expressed their support of Assyrians and Syrians.
- On 29 January 2001, a delegation of five people headed by Ali Ertem, President of “the Association against Genocide”, which is active in Frankfurt since 1998, visited PKK’s newspaper Özgür Politika. During this visit Ali Ertem said their objective is the official recognition of the Armenian, Greek and Assyrian/Syriani genocides by Turkey.
- On February 2001, In the German city of Eichstat, the catholic University “Shalom” has awarded the 2001 peace prize to an Assyrian priest.
- On 17 February 20001, the Assyrian International News Agency started a campaign to collect signatures for a letter addressed to American Human Rights Watch, American State Secretary, American international relations committee, American international religious freedom committee and the United Nations, condemning the arrest of the priest Yusuf Akbulut.
- On 17 February 2001, Berlin Syriani community, in front of the Berlin Consulate General organized a meeting in which approximately 300 people participated to protest against the arrest of Yusuf Akbulut. Dr Tessa Hoffmann, a spokesperson for the Armenian community, who spoke in the demonstration, said “The Turkish state is founded upon the bones of the Armenian, Greek and Syriani victims. Under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal the Young Turks in the name of liberation aimed to massacre the Armenians and the Greeks in Anatolia”. [Dr Tessa Hoffmann] demanded Germany to participate in the issue and pressure Turkey for freedom of thought and expression. Berlin Armenian community leader Levon Koçaryan, who spoke in the demonstration, alleged that the Turkish state massacred both the Armenians and the Syrianis: “Genocide, pillage and exile became the fate of these two communities. The massacres were perpetrated on the justification that these two peoples requested land. During that period 5 million Christians citizens were massacred in Turkey”.
- On 21 February 2001, after the demonstration in Berlin on 17 February 2001, an open letter on behalf of the European Assyrian Syriani Union and carrying the signature of Matay Arslan, was published on the Internet, addressing the Assyrian Syrianis and included some demands. This letter is asking Syrianis, Assyrians and Chaldeans to continue organizing demonstrations, to appeal to the human Rights Court, to demand Turkey to recognize genocide, to work towards achieving minority status in Turkey under the Lausanne Treaty, to fight for building the infrastructure in the Southeastern Anatolia and demand compensation for the victims.
In the last section of the report the activities of the Armenians and Greeks together with the Assyrians, Syrianis and Chaldeans:
- To receive compensation in the future.
- To falsify historical facts and in the countries where they live to work towards influencing the public opinion and their governments to pressure Turkey.
Attention is also drawn to the increase of the activities to achieve their objectives and the close co-operation of the Assyrian, Syriani, Chaldean community with the Armenian and Greek organization and the terrorist organization PKK.
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