Turkey’s waning Syriac Christian community to submit report to EU

PanARMENIAN.Net - A report detailing the problems Turkey’s long forgotten Syriac Christian communities face, prepared with the backing of the European Syriac Union (ESU) and the Dutch Foreign Ministry, will be presented to European Parliament in the coming days.

“Previously issued statements were based on estimated information, but now we have concrete conclusions,” Tuma Çelik, the head of ESU’s Turkey branch, told the Hürriyet Daily News.

The report prepared by the Southeastern Syriac Culture in Solidarity Association is based on research conducted in the southeastern provinces of Mardin, Şırnak and Batman, where there once was a heavily concentrated Syriac Christian population.

The occasion marks the first time such a study was conducted in Turkey’s eastern and southeastern regions, Çelik said on behalf of the association.

Entitled “Syriacs in a Multi-Cultural Environment and the Right of Property,” the report covers a number of issues, including the unresolved murders of Syriacs in connection with the 1980s and 1990s fighting between government forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the southeast.

The Syriac population in Mardin’s Midyat district, a traditional Syriac homeland, fell from 1800 residents before the year 1985 down to a mere 130 residents in 2011, while the same figure in the district of Yemiþli dropped from 270 down to 18, according to the report.

Syriac populations in other districts mentioned in the document also experienced a similar decline, despite very slight increases over the past decade.

The report also covers other issues, such as the occupation of lands owned by Syriacs, the problems Syriacs who fled and those returning to Turkey have faced and other rights violations, HDN reported.

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