European Syriac Union calls on international community to recognize 1915 Sayfo Genocide

BRUSSELS — The European Syriac Union (ESU) released a statement in which it commemorated the martyrs of the 1915 Sayfo Genocide. 

“On 15 June, we commemorate the 107the anniversary of the Sayfo Genocide that claimed the lives of more than 500,000 Syriacs (Arameans–Assyrians–Chaldeans) by the Ottoman Empire,” read the ESU statement.

The ESU statement recalled the force religious conversion that the Ottoman authorities imposed on the Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) people, forcing them to convert to Islam. It also addressed the demographic change and the destruction of the ancient legacy of a thousand-years of civilization in Beth Nahrin (Mesopotamia).

“The Sayfo began in Tur Abdin, Hakkari, Urmia, and Urhoy (Urfa), where our people faced killing and slaughtering,” read the statement.

The statement condemned and lamented the systematic killing of the Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) people’s political representatives and intellectuals, in addition to uprooting the people from their historical lands and displacing them to different countries across the Middle East and the world.

After more than a century of genocide — the ESU considering subsequent Turkish policies and projects a continuation fo the crimes of the Ottomans — Syriac Christianity has largely disappeared in Turkey. Now, Turkey is attempting to expand its project of eradication to North and East Syria and Iraq.

The ESU called on the international community to intervene to stop these policies and guarantee the rights of the Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) people and called on the administration of U.S. President Biden and relevant international bodies to recognize the 1915 Sayfo Genocide.

“Recognition of the genocide is a path towards reconciliation and justice for peace and security,” the statement concluded.