ArDO: Yes we want Lebanon to be the Switzerland of the East and Beirut the Paris of the East

Academic on the history of the Arameans

Johny Messo

Turkey’s dream almost come true

For Immediate Release                                            

 Contact: Johny Messo

 Syriac Universal Alliance (SUA)

The Hague, October 7The passionate dream of the Republic of Turkey has almost become a reality as the European Commission yesterday endorsed that the recent reforms within this country are sufficiently enough to open accession negotiations with the EU. The official approval as well as an eventual date for Turkey’s admission, however, will have to wait for the final decision of the EU Council on the approaching date of 17 December.

Yesterday, EU Commissioner Mr. Günter Verheugen admitted that the concern of the report was essentially all about a “yes” or a “not yet” answer. Thus, under the present circumstances the EU leaders responsible for the answer to this question seem to be confident that Turkey is indeed ready for the EU. Most European citizens, however, believe that Turkey is not ready yet for the EU and, conversely, that the EU is not ready yet for Turkish membership either.

Even the Chairmen of the German delegation in the European Parliament, Hartmut Nassauer (CDU) and Markus Ferber (CSU), sharply criticized the role of their German colleague Günter Verheugen. “Mr. Verheugen’s support for Turkish accession,” they claimed yesterday, was “irresponsible, because neither the political criteria nor the humanitarian, economic and financial basic conditions are fulfilled by Ankara. Verheugen had nevertheless actively promoted Turkey’s application already this summer following the German government instead of the European interest.”

As stated before, in light of the experiences endured by the Syriac people in Turkey since it first applied for an EU membership in 1963 and since the approved candidacy in 1999, the Syriac Universal Alliance clearly sensed no substantial changes with respect to the official position of the Syriac people and their rights within the Turkish legislation. Nor is anything giving the impression yet that the eminent Aramaic component of the identity of the Republic of Turkey is being appreciated by the Turkish government, the media, the textbooks and the leading institutions within the country – indeed, the Turkish society as a whole.

In regard to the truth, we reiterate that the SUA is not against Turkish admission into the EU as such. All we continue to ask for is essentially justice, equality, patronage and support from the Turkish government both to protect the endangered national heritage and identity of the Syriacs as well as to guarantee their future survival in Southeast-Turkey, their traditional land.

As SUA previously proposed a five year prolongation of the process in order to see whether or not the theoretical reforms will prove to have a real practical impact, the EU-report decided slightly otherwise. First, the Commission declared that a positive decision on 17 December will not guarantee Turkey’s membership yet. Second, the Commission recommended the deferral of the preparatory talks “in the case of a serious and persistent breach of the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law on which the Union is founded.”

At least with regard to these two conditions, the SUA is pleased and will continue to monitor the situation of the Syriac people in Turkey. We will also keep an eye to the attitude of the Turkish society and, above all, to the further reforms and policies of the Turkish government in the hope that the plight of the Arameans in Turkey may really improve in the new future. 

Mr. Verheugen pledged that we will see a whole new Turkey after a decade and a half. A Turkey whose values are compatible with those of the EU. Not only it is our sincere hope to experience such a new era, but the SUA even considers it her duty to assist the Republic of Turkey in realizing a positive transformation according to the European standards.  

The Syriac people, however, have a realistic dream too. Our dream is that of an ancient forgotten people whose culture constitutes an integral part of Anatolia, which has substantially contributed to world civilization and especially to Eastern Christianity. Certainly, the Syriacs, unquestionably the indigenous people of Southeast-Turkey, dream of a peaceful symbiosis in their age-old homeland with the Turkish, Kurdish and other peoples in the region where they can preserve their collective Aramaic heritage and identity.

Hopefully, if the EU finally decides to accept Turkey into the European family, the EU will ensure that the Syriac dream may come true through the full support of the “new Turkey.” 

The Syriac Universal Alliance is a worldwide umbrella organization of all secular Syriac/Aramaic confederations and is also an international Non-Governmental Organization in Special Consultative Status with the Economical and Social Council of the United Nations.

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