Condolence letter on Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas (1933-2014)

Today, 21 March 2014, His Holiness Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, Patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch and All the East, passed away at a hospital in Germany at the age of 81 (1933-2014). The WCA learnt with profound sadness about this news and sent the church leadership a condolence letter in Aramaic.  

Click here to download the letter in Aramaic.

On 21 March 2014, the World Council of Arameans (Syriacs) sent a letter of condolence in Aramaic addressed to the Holy Synod of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch and All the East, the clergy and the pious faithful, on the passing of His Holiness Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas. 

The WCA expressed great sorrow about the loss of this great leader, who served his flock as Patriarch since 1980, and led the Syriac Orthodox community through various crises in the homelands, particularly in Turkey, Iraq and Syria. Our conversations and cooperation with His Holiness gave the WCA, in addition to his blessings, much strength and inspiration to continue serving the Aramean people.   

In due honor of the 34-year long services to the Aramean (Syriac) people by the late Patriarch, we also produced this short video in his memory. We sincerely admired and loved His Holiness, and we will always remember him as a righteous shepherd. 

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Call for Recognition and Support of the Endangered Aramean (Syriac) People in Turkey

Stockholm, 7 November 2013

Today, 7 November 2013, Mr. Kenan Anter and Mr. Gabriel Bozyel, respectively the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Syriac Federation of Sweden, met in Stockholm with the Turkish Prime Minister Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator, Mr. Egemen Bağış. On behalf of the World Council of Arameans (Syriacs) and the Syriac Federation of Sweden, Mr. Anter discussed the Aramean question in Turkey and submitted a letter to Mr. Erdogan. The writing encourages the Turkish Government to continue developing its democratization efforts, and also calls upon the Government to recognize and support the endangered Aramean people in Turkey.

Click here to download the letter

The World Council of Arameans (Syriacs) (“WCA”) and the Syriac Federation of Sweden (SRF) appeal to you on behalf of the endangered Aramean (Syriac; Süryani in Turkish) people, who are indigenous to, but not yet officially recognized and supported by, Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.

In May 2009, Your Excellency boldly declared that in the past century the non-Muslim minorities have suffered a lot and in many ways in Turkey, stating: “This mindset has seemingly not changed. It has been the same for many years in this country. They have chased members of different ethnicities out of this country. Have we won? This was the result of a fascist mentality.” Today, four years later, one is compelled to review the onground reality with Your Excellency’s comment.

The first major step in burying this attitude of the “old Turkey” with its denialist and assimilation policies was the latest democratization package, which you called a “historic moment for Turkey.” We encourage and support you to continue your reform efforts in shaping the “new Turkey.” We consider the package a first major initiative in preserving the endangered ethno-religious minorities in Turkey. It contains dozens of promising points, although we regret to announce that it also had shortcomings, including (but not limited to) the following important cases:


Brief aan de Vaste Commissie voor Buitenlandse Zaken betreft de Situatie van Christenen in Syrië

Hengelo, 13 december 2013


Klik hier om de brief te downloaden in PDF

Geachte leden van de Vaste Commissie voor Buitenlandse Zaken, 

Namens de World Council of Arameans (Syriacs) (“WCA”) en onze dochterorganisatie de Suryoye Aramese Federatie Nederland (“SAFN”) vragen wij wederom uw dringende aandacht voor de aanhoudende etnische zuiveringen, de sluimerende genocide en de massale exodus van de inheemse christelijke bevolking van Syrië, waar wij hetzelfde ervaren als eerder in Zuidoost-Turkije en Irak.

1. Op 9 juli 2013 was er een Aramese delegatie naar Den Haag afgereisd om het ministerie van Buitenlandse zaken (vertegenwoordigd door dhr. H. Quarles van Ufford, plaatsvervangend directeur Noord-Afrika en Midden-Oosten) in te lichten over de voornoemde punten.

2. Op 17 oktober jl. vond hetzelfde plaats. In samenwerking met Kerk in Actie werd ditmaal de Syrisch-orthodoxe bisschop Z.E. Dionysius Jean Kawak uit Damascus uitgenodigd om de Vaste Commissie (voorgezeten door CDA-Kamerlid dhr. P. Omtzigt) alsmede de Directie Stabiliteit en Humanitaire Hulp (onder leiding van mw. M. Jansen) hierover te informeren. Zie: Syriac Orthodox Bishop from Damascus asks Dutch and German Parliaments, Media and Christian NGOs for Help

3. Tijdens deze ontmoetingen en in de daaropvolgende periode hebben wij, evenals onze zusterorganisatie de Aramese Beweging voor Mensenrechten (ABM), u allen en Z.E. dhr. F. Timmermans (Minister van BZ) afdoende documentatie doen toekomen via onze websites en mailinglijsten over de hachelijke positie van de Aramese christenen in en rondom Syrië.

Edesa Mutlu (SAFN) overhandigt de petitie betreffende de situatie van christenen in Syrië aan de Vaste Commissie voor Buitenlandse Zaken

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WCA Letter to the US State Secretary John Kerry


Stockholm, 18 September 2013


Click here to download the letter


Dear Secretary Mr. Kerry,

We urgently appeal to you on behalf of the Aramean (Syriac) people, who are native to Syria, Iraq, Southeast Turkey and Lebanon, and more than 100,000 of whom have found refuge in Sweden. We ask you to acknowledge the below reality and come to the urgent help of our endangered people:



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