SUA’s recommendations adopted by Council of Europe


The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (“Council of Europe”) adopted Resolution 1704 on Wednesday 27 January that calls upon Turkey to seriously address the issue of minority rights. The Syriac Universal Alliance (“SUA”), which represents the Aramean (Syriac) people as an international NGO at the United Nations, engaged extensively with parliamentarians and parliamentary advisors. These efforts resulted in the SUA’s recommendations being accepted by the Council of Europe.

After studying the draft version that was submitted to the Council of Europe, the SUA issued a formal memorandum (with recommendations) requesting all the parliamentarians from 47 countries to pay heed to the neglected Aramean people in Turkey; click here for a copy of the memorandum which has been translated in six languages.

The SUA made recommendations to the Council of Europe to amend its initial position and, more specifically, asked for the following:

  1. The draft resolution to be amended, by recognizing not only the precarious and well-known situation of the Mor Gabriel Monastery, but also the unlawful expropriation of significant amounts of land historically and legally belonging to a multitude of other ancient Syriac monasteries, churches and proprietors in Southeast Turkey (Article 19.6);
  2. Adding a subsequent Article about the recognition, promotion and protection of the indigenous Aramean people in Turkey as a minority in compliance with international law. The result being Arameans can officially educate in their Aramaic mother tongue (Article 19.7); and
  3. Monitoring the process and an annual progress report to be delivered by Turkey (Article 20).

All three of the SUA’s recommendations were almost literally adopted by the Council of Europe; please refer to the aforementioned SUA website for a copy of an extract of Articles 19.6, 19.7 and 20 of the final Resolution 1704.

The SUA warmly welcomes and applauds the Resolution. It rightly touches on sensitive issues long delayed by Turkey in resolving and gives a fair view on the state of affairs which minorities are experiencing in Turkey. Among other things, the text also stimulates Turkey in Article 16 to sign and ratify the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

Daniel Gabriel, the SUA’s Human Rights and UN NGO Director, showed his appreciation, saying: “This document is a crucial step forward in securing the survival of the Arameans in Turkey. The Council of Europe is to be credited for that and we hope that the European Union will soon follow suit. The international community has now collectively and publicly declared that the Aramean people have a history of nearly 3,500 years in this country. Turkey’s time has come to do the same. We will be sure to continue monitoring Turkey’s progress, in particular regarding Articles 16, 19.6 and 19.7 of this latest resolution.”

Additionally, Johny Messo, President of the SUA, equally applauded the Council of Europe’s efforts and position on the matter, stating: “We are deeply grateful to the Council of Europe for acknowledging our struggle for recognition, equality and justice. The ball is now in Turkey’s court. It has to prove to Europe that it is really changing its attitude towards non-Turkish and non-Muslim ethno-religious groups like the Christian Aramean people. The Turkish Government and Media must demonstrate that there is indeed space for them in this EU candidate state. We are looking forward to fruitfully work on that together with them.”

The SUA will continue to inform you in relation to upcoming news and developments in these matters. If you require any further information, please contact Mr. Daniel Gabriel (SUA’s Human Rights and UN NGO Director) on  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . For more information, you can also contact Mr. Johny Messo (SUA’s President) on  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .




Please enter your e-mail address in order to receive the latest WCA news!