Bethnahrin National Council: Acquittal of Tuma Çelik is proof of the Turkish government’s conspiracies targeting the Syriac–Assyrian people

The Bethnahrain National Council (MUB) released a statement about the acquittal of independent Syriac Member of Turkish Parliament Tuma Çelik on Wednesday.

MP Tuma Çelik was acquitted of charges of sexual assault by the 8th Turkish High Court on Tuesday, charges Çelik has denounced as fraudulent since they were made public.

The MUB statement called the attacks against Çelik just one in a number of conspiracies against the Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) people, the latest being the conviction of a Syriac Orthodox monk of “supporting terrorism”.

********** MUB STATEMENT **********


Our struggle under the leadership of the Bethnahrin National Council has always been attacked by powers seeking to keep the status quo. These attacks reveal the crimes committed against our people, and others, across the Middle East. The blackmail plot set up against Tuma Çelik is only one example of such attacks.

Tuma Çelik, formerly from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and now an independent, was elected as a Member of Parliament from Mardin during the June 24, 2018 Presidential and Parliamentary elections in Turkey. After this date, as a representative of the Assyrian/Syriac people, Tuma Çelik began to raise political issues affecting Assyrians/Syriacs since the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, as well as the political, historical, and social pressures they were exposed to during the Ottoman era. Exposing these truths and realities, he began to attract the attention of various circles in Turkey and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Those who were disturbed by Çelik’s pointing out of uncomfortable historical and political facts began a calculated campaign to limit his voice and the voice of Assyrians/Syriacs.

With this purpose in mind, a woman who previously had relations with dozens of Assyrians/Syriacs via social media reached HDP Deputy Tuma Çelik using same method. This woman, who initially was provided with assistance, later tried to gain benefits by resorting to blackmail. When she could not get what she wanted, she claimed harassment. Large and small actors within Turkey took the opportunity and mobilized their supporters and biased media to exploit the blackmail attempt. Thus, a great conspiracy unfolded and a campaign to discredit our struggle and the HDP begun. Prosecutors, at the direction of the ruling parties, directed to open a case against our friend Tuma Çelik. In light of these developments, some elements from our people were more royalist than the king, attacking our struggle and revealing their ugly faces once again. From the beginning, this event was determined to be a plot to blackmail and sabotage HDP’s multi-ethnic, democratic principles and an attack on the very identity of democratic developments in Turkey. Therefore, we decided to fight to the end and defend our rights. Our friend showed the will to defend himself and reveal the facts in court in an environment with no independent judiciary.

We stress the importance and the need for our people and the entire Bethnahrin National Council to always act responsibly in the face of traps and dirty tricks. Conspiracies, plots, and blackmail are the most insidious and destructive tools of psychological warfare. Even after the attempts to tarnish the reputation of MP Tuma Çelik and the hasty decision of the HDP’s disciplinary board to suspend his party membership, the 8th High Criminal Court of Ankara decided to acquit our friend Tuma Çelik on April 14, 2021. Thus, all claims, accusations, and the purging plots developed against our struggle bears no result. Tuma Çelik, independent MP from Mardin, has no more obstacles to his work and can continue to be the voice of our people.

Now, a new conspiracy is being plotted against the Priest Sefer Aho Bileçen of the Mor Yahqup Monastery, who has been sentenced to 25 months in prison on unjust charges of “supporting a terrorist organization” for acting on his Christian beliefs and giving two strangers food and water.

As the Bethnahrin National Council, we call on our people to support their representatives everywhere and prevent any attack from whomever it may come by organizing under tour leadership.


Bethnahrin National Council (MUB)

Presidential Board