Syriac Member of Turkish Parliament for Mardin Tuma Çelik calls on Turkish government to fund Syriac language schools

ANKARA — On Thursday, during discussions in the Turkish Parliament about the education budget, independent Syriac MP for Mardin Tuma Çelik called for allocating support and a budget for Syriac language education in Turkey.

In a comment directed to the Minister of Education, MP Çelik stated that, “In your speech, you did not mention a word about minority schools, but it is known that in the Treaty of Lausanne, Articles 41 and 42 stipulate the duty to help Christians in opening schools for them to teach their mother tongue.”

MP Çelik added that all successive governments and authorities in Turkey have not fulfilled their obligations to the Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) people who are present in abundance in Marda and Beth Zabadi. 

He continued:

“Today, in the Minister’s plan of action, he did not talk about our people’s rights to education, not even a single word.

We, as the Syriac people, demand that we be given our rights … alongside the rest of the components in the homeland.”

Çelik stated that the Turkish authorities allocate millions of liras to teach illiterate children the Turkish language in the historic Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) region of Tur Abdin, while not a single lira is spent on education in Syriac.

At the conclusion of his speech, Çelik said that the demand of the Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) people is to be treated fairly and to be given the right to education in their mother tongue to preserve it.