January 20, 2017

Assyria: Anti-Christian Campaign of Turkish Government Gains Momentum

Photo courtesy of Stuart Rankin @flickr.com

The removal of the Assyrian statue of a winged bull, which represents the age-old Assyrian culture and was displayed opposite Diyarbakir’s town hall, in Turkey, must be recognised by the international community as yet another highly regrettable step towards open persecution of the Assyrian people in Turkey. This measure reflects the recent wave of discriminatory measures by Turkish authorities, such as the dispossession of an ancient Orthodox monastery or the prohibition to construct Christian churches.

Below is an article published by the Voltaire Network:

The mayor of Diyarbakir, recently appointed by the Yildirim government after the dismissal of the elected mayor, has removed the Assyrian statue [that had been erected] opposite the town hall.

The former mayor (HDP), had erected the statue of the winged bull, Lamassu, in recognition of the Assyrian community. Historically, Diyarbakir is an Assyrian town, which today has a strong Kurdish presence. HDP, a party representing minorities, is often presented as representing the interests of Kurds. However, it also represents all other minorities, such as the Assyrians.

On 16 November 2016, the Yıldirım government had removed the only Assyrian mayor of Turkey, Mrs Februniye Akyol (mayor of Mardin) from office.

Erol Dora is an Assyrian HDP MP and has asked for explanations from the government during a parliamentary session. He has not obtained a response.

The Assyrians are the heirs of the Assyrian empire, one of the most ancient civilizations in the [history] of humanity (from 14th century BC to 6th century BC). Today, most of them are Christians. Turkish law prohibits the construction of Christian Churches. The Assyrians have already been singled out as a priority target for Daesh in Iraq and Syria.