Independent Syriac Member of Turkish Parliament for Mardin Tuma Çelik criticizes Turkish government for lack of Syriac language school

ANKARA — With the start of the school year, independent Syriac Member of Turkish Parliament for Mardin Tuma Çelik criticized the Turkish government due to the lack of a Syriac language school.

“The current school year has begun, with the indigenous Syriac people still lacking a school to teach the curricula in Syriac,” MP Çelik stated in a question directed to the Turkish Minister of Education Mahmut Özer.

He noted that the Treaty of Lausanne and other international treaties grant peoples in Turkey the right to teach in their mother tongues. However, the Turkish authorities prevent the Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) people from opening their own school.

Çelik pointed out that other non-Muslim peoples in Turkey have their own schools, except the Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) people, who were only allowed to open a kindergarten in Istanbul after 2013 according to the decree issued at the time regarding the opening of private schools.

The Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) people do not have any kindergartens in the Syriac language in Mardin, despite their dense presence in the city. This issue has been repeatedly discussed with the Turkish authorities, but they have not yet enabled the Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) people to open a private school for them.

“The Syriac language has deteriorated greatly and has been classified in the list of languages ​​in danger of extinction. Therefore, there is an urgent need to open schools in the Syriac language in order to preserve it from extinction,” MP Çelik stated, demanding Minister Özer solve the issue.

MP Çelik directed a written question to Minister Özer saying, “I wonder if the Minister of Education has a plan to open a school in the Syriac language for the primary and preparatory stages.”