Syriac MP in Turkish Parliament advocates for cultural rights and property restitution in speech

ANKARA — George Aslan, Syriac MP in the Turkish Parliament, extended a heartfelt Syriac-language greeting to the Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) people both in the homeland and in the diaspora during his address in the Turkish parliament.

Highlighting the challenges faced by Christian endowments in Turkey, Aslan underscored the substantial decline in the Christian population since the Ottoman Empire era, emphasizing that Christians have now become minorities in Turkey.

Aslan brought attention to Turkey’s control over lands historically belonging to Armenian, Greek, and Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) communities. He labeled this historical issue as one of the primary challenges confronting Christians in Turkey, particularly the Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) people, who grapple with issues related to their national rights, Syriac and religious education, and discriminatory policies.

Emphasizing the importance of these endowments for managing religious, educational, cultural, and social activities, Aslan criticized the Turkish government for not providing adequate support. He highlighted a significant turning point in 1935 when endowments were affiliated with Turkish state institutions, and in 1974, the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate’s property in Mirde was transformed into an archaeological museum.

Aslan called for the restitution of all properties controlled since 1935, urging the Turkish government to address this historical injustice. Additionally, he raised concerns about Christian and Yezidi students being compelled to study the Islamic religion, urging alternative education options that respect their diverse cultural backgrounds.