Letter to Erdoğan: The Future of the Mor Gabriel Monastery and Aramean (Syriac) villages


Dear Prime Minister Erdoğan,

We write you on behalf of the Syriac Universal Alliance (SUA), the worldwide umbrella organization of all the national Federations of the Aramean (Syriac) people.

We are aware that you are now closely monitoring the alarming events faced by the Mor Gabriel Monastery and many Aramean villages in southeast Turkey. In view of your recent intervention and the constant postponements of the Mor Gabriel trials, including the adjournment of May 6, we take the liberty of appealing to you by way of an open letter.

It has been brought to your attention that the Aramean community, in both Turkey and the Diaspora, has taken an extremely strong interest in this matter. International media, human rights organizations and governmental bodies have stressed the importance of Turkey abiding by EU standards on democracy, human rights, property rights and minority rights.

SUA has consistently issued reports and press releases about this matter to all concerned authorities. Together with representatives and observers of the EU, SUA has also attended all court trials. But time and again, attendees were unanimous in their criticism of the existing flaws of the Turkish legal system.

Fortunately, this very point about the inadequacy of the Turkish judicial system has been recently acknowledged by you and other Turkish government officials. One of SUA’s profound concerns is that the indigenous Aramean people of southeast Turkey have already fallen victim to the country’s judicial deficiency. The Mor Gabriel case may be the most familiar one. But as you are aware, Mr Prime Minister, the same applies to several other Aramean villages, particularly in the region of Tur Abdin.

In the past few months, SUA has met personally with high‐ranking Turkish officials, including the Turkish Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the General Director of Land Registry and Cadastre and the Governor of the Mardin province.

Unfortunately, it appears to SUA that these State officials are not in a hurry to resolve these matters or to push for a just solution. We therefore appeal to you, Mr Prime Minister, with your strong sense of justice, democracy and humanity, to assist with the Mor Gabriel question as follows:

  • Mediate promptly and objectively so as to prevent the injustice of Aramean land loss continuing; and
  • Ensure that the decisions of the related Turkish authorities are reversed and relevant cases are dismissed to the benefit of the Aramean people, in order that current public condemnation of Turkey ends. We all want to ensure this case does not end up in the European Court of Justice, which is where other cases involving Turkey’s Greek and Armenian minorities have been resolved successfully.





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