AISC Statement on the Genocide of the Assyrians
During World War I
For Immediate Release
Assyrian International Seyfo Committee (AISC)
20 April 2006
On 24 April, 92 years ago, a decision was taken to wipe out the Assyrians in the Turkish region of Assyria. Assyrians, every year, hold a memorial day on 24th of April to commemorate the Genocide of 1914–1919 known among the Assyrians as the “Seyfo”.
This genocide was a continuation of similar acts carried out by the Turks and the Kurds in earlier times, against the peaceful and unarmed Assyrian people.
Over 4 million Christian citizens of the Ottoman Empire were killed or deported between 1915 and 1923. The genocide of the Assyrians, Armenians and Greeks is known among Assyrians as the Seyfo Genocide referring to the Sword of Islam (Seyfo is Sword in Western Assyrian language). Two out of three Assyrians perished during this period.
It was the obligation of the Ottoman Empire to protect the Assyrians and not to annihilate them. Instead a genocide was committed which almost eradicated an entire ethnicity, creating more than half a million martyrs and put tens of thousands to march towards uncertainty.
The Turkish state today, the true successor of the Ottoman Empire, is denying the genocide against Assyrians. The leaders of the Kurdish parties, who claim to represent the Kurdish people, are also carrying out the same denial policy. Both Turks and Kurds are responsible for the genocide against the Assyrians and they are the reason for the complete destruction of the Assyrian society and its social, political, cultural and economical aspects.
The European Union’s negotiations on the acceptance of Turkey’s membership is totally at odds with the European Union’s basic belief in democratic norms and humanitarian values.
As Assyrians we strongly believe that the EU will not disregard our rightful claims despite the strong political and economical reasons for the EU to accept Turkey as a member.
The Assyrian people, owners of civilisation and a history spanning thousands of years, ask the United Nations and especially the European Union to demand from Turkey to accept the following points before approving Turkeys membership application for membership in the EU:
- That Turkey recognize and apologize for the genocide against the Assyrian people.
- That Turkey is tried in the International Court in the Hague and other courts dealing with the International Rights and genocide issues.
- That Turkey amend its constitution to include Assyrians as an indigenous minority with rights to live in their ancestral lands.
- That Turkey amends its educational systems to give accurate and relevant information on Assyrians.
- That Turkey compensate the Assyrian people economically and grant them the right to create a memorial site for the victims of the genocide in a place selected by the Assyrian people.
- That Turkey return the confiscated properties of the Assyrians.
- That destroyed villages, towns, churches and monasteries be rebuilt and that places be renamed with their true historical names. This applies even to property confiscated prior than the war between Kurds and Turks.
- That Turkey grant Assyrians the right to return under the supervision of the EU.
- That the “Treaty of Lausanne” from 1923 be amended to include Assyrians as a minority and that the treaty be further amended to fulfill the Copenhagen criteria.
- That Turkey stop the illegal usage, sale and expropriation of the Assyrian property and return the Assyrian properties to village guardians or village chiefs, as is the case today.