On May 18, 2010, exactly nine years ago, founding President of European Syriac Union, ESU Iskender Alptekin passed away in Zurich, Switzerland leaving behind him valuable heritage of struggle and brotherhood.
On May 12, the news of the departure of HH Cardinal Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir saddened us and ESU wants to convey its condolences to the Maronite Christians of Lebanon and around the world. HH Cardinal Sfeir held the holy seat amid immense turmoil in Lebanon and in the whole Middle East region by being a voice of justice, peace and equality. We salute his memory.
Today marks 85 years of the Simele Massacre against indigenous Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people in Iraq with colossal suffering and with the objective of ethnic cleansing. Following the Iraqi independence and establishment of the whole political, social and economic system in the Iraq, the Simele Massacre had been committed against Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people in the Northern Iraq around Dohuk and in the Simele.
On August 2014, following the capture of Mosul city by ISIS, the Nineveh Plain and the Shingal region faced a similar threat. And they had been controlled by ISIS following the retreat of Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces which lead to the massive exodus of Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people from the Nineveh Plain and the Yazidis from Shingal and later faced genocide, killings, and abductions.
Since several weeks, Syriac people in Sweden at first and secondly Swedish public opinion and media continue to discuss the issue of Sayfo 1915 genocide in the country in different levels including political parties and high ranking politicians. Now, the question of Sayfo genocide also is in the actuality in Netherlands. In the cases, interference of Turkey to the discussion undermines free discussion, acceptance and progress on the genocide issue.
Since the year of 2015, with the proposal of Syriac Orthodox Patriarch HH Aphrem II Karim with the large consultations of various parties, organisations and institutions, Syriac people commemorate Sayfo Remembrance Day on 15 June. European Syriac Union, ESU welcomed initiative and accordingly activities are underway in this period of the year.
Following the beginning of World War I during the year of 1914, Ottoman-Turkish of the period beneficiated from the absence of international order and from the ongoing chaos, carried out its long planned annihilation of Armenian people in the border of the empire with other Christian groups as Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrians and Pontic Greeks. As the first genocide of the century, 1,500,000 Armenian civilians including women, children had been killed, hundred of thousands lost their lives during the death marches and women and children had been forcibly islamised.
On February 22, with the initiative of Christian Union political party, Dutch Parliament recognized genocide of 1915 against Armenians, Syriacs and Greek Pontics with majority.
As reported this week in several media outlets in Turkey, a planned new bill will be presented to the Turkish Parliament which also includes the issue of 50 Syriac Christian properties that had been seized by the state in the south-east region of Turkey, namely in Turabdin.
We are in our last days of the year 2015 and in blessing days of Christmas as a sign of hope and new life. The year of 2017 had been rich, unprecedented and important for our Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people and for all humanity. After years of exodus, migration and refuge, historical homeland of Nineveh Plains had been liberated and thus opening new chapter to our people to return to their homes. This is, actually, another phase of important process to undertake and assist our people.
During the next year of 2018, ESU will continues to work for the well being and future of Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people. Across European countries and institutions, we will work as much as possible to demands the rights for our people. We extend our gratitude for all members, friends, and institutions and organisations which stand and support Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people. In this regard, we wish you a merry Christmas and a new year of blessings, happiness and success.