Institutions in Turkey demand Sayfo Genocide recognition

TUR ABDIN, Turkey — On the 107th anniversary of the Sayfo Genocide, social and religious organizations in Turkey demanded its official recognition.

The Sayfo Genocide was committed by the Ottoman Empire and allied Kurdish, Arab, and Circassian forces in the early 20th century against the Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) people and occurred parallel to the genocides of Armenians, Greeks, and Yezidis. Upwards of 300,000 of the region’s estimated 700,000 Syriacs (Arameans–Assyrians–Chaldeans) were massacred. More than 200,000 were forcefully displaced or deported south.

On Sayfo Remembrance Day, 15 June, a Divine Liturgy was held to commemorate the genocide martyrs in the Had B-shabo Church of Ewardo village in Tur Abdin, a historic region located in what is now southeastern Turkey.

Ewardo village is famous for its resistance and steadfastness in the face of Ottoman and Kurdish tribal forces during the genocide. Had B-shabo Church acted as a shelter for Syriacs (Arameans–Assyrians–Chaldeans) fleeing violence and persecution.

In comments to Suroyo TV, Yohanon Akay stated that they commemorated the Sayfo martyrs with a Divine Liturgy in the village.

“Every stone and grain of sand in Ewardo village was watered with the blood of the Sayfo martyrs,” said Akay. “We will never forget our martyrs, and they will remain in our hearts.”

President of the Federation of Syriac Associations in Turkey (Süryani Dernekler Federasyonu, SÜDEF)  Evgil Türker spoke to Turkish media outlets about the historic civilizations of Beth Nahrin (Mesopotamia) and how they have been obliterated during the genocide.

Türker added that, besides the genocide, other Turkish policies targeting the Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) people have uprooted their culture, civilization, and presence in the land of their ancestors.

Turkey-based Syriac magazine Gazete Sabro devoted its work program during this month to writings, poetry, and interviews on the Sayfo issue with the aim of broadening national and international knowledge of the genocide.