Learning Nothing, Forgetting Nothing: When Turkey Revisits Anti-Assyrian Policies of the Past, Everyone Pays the Price
On 31 JUL 2015 NEC-SE quoted the Assyrian historian and author John Hajjar as stating:
These Sunni Muslim Kurdish tribesmen originated in Persia but switched their allegiance to the Ottomans after the Turks overcame the Safavid Persians in the Battle of Chaldiran in 1514 A.D. As a result of the 1915 actions to “cleanse” the Assyrian Christians from their Anatolian lands the Sunni Muslim Kurds became ever more firmly ensconced in the region, and prospered in it: so much that they now effectively control fully one-third of Turkish Anatolia, which they have renamed “Kurdi-Stan,” literarily “Land of the Kurds.”
And so the Turks gave away Assyrian lands to the Kurds, who later became enemies of the Turks.
It was an historical mistake by the Turks to do so; and it is a mistake they have repeated. Paraphrasing Tallyrand’s famous assessment of the Boubons, they have learned nothing and forgotten nothing. As evidence of this, NEC-SE stated in the same article:
“What do the Turks have to show for their efforts? Iran is rising and meeting with Western diplomats and being swooned over by the United States, Russia, and China for business. At the same time the Turks have found themselves embroiled in another war with the PKK, having to strike deals with the KDP leadership currently in charge of the KRG in order to drive the PKK not only from Turkey but from the political landscape of the KRG which they now control.
“To the Turks we have to say, congratulations for making the first colossal mistake of the 20th century with the Sunni Muslim Kurds of that time, and congratulations too for repeating that mistake with ISIS. . . . All this to dislodge the Christian Assyrians who had lived in your territories for 400 years without ever turning against your leaders or lifting so much as a finger against your brethren. This is the reason why Turkey will never be seen as a world leader in the 21st century–or not until it reconciles with the Assyrians, who are the key for Turkey to be accepted into the EU and the world community.”
On 12 JUL 2015 NEC-SE also posted a Fox News article in which Chinese authorities were on record stating that Muslim Uighurs went overseas [to places like Syria] to fight as part of ISIS only to return to China to cause havoc. A portion of those Uighurs were also settled in parts of Turkey and Syria once the indigenous people of that land [the Assyrian Christians] were dislodged from the area. These Uighurs are now committing act of violence in the region which are undermining efforts to contain the Islamic State. And just like the Kurds before them, they pose the same future risk to Turkey.
On 28 MAR 2016 an article in Agos reported that Christian churches were to be expropriated in Turkey, specifically in Diyarbekir.
“According to the cabinet decision published in Official Journal on March 25, an ‘urgent expropriation’ decision is taken concerning 6.300 plots of land in Sur province. With this decision, many places in Abdaldede, Alipaşa, Cemal Yılmaz, Camikebir, Cevatpaşa, Dabanoğlu, Hasırlı, İnönü, İskenderpaşa, Lalebey, Malikahmet, Özdemir, Süleymangazi, Savaş, Şemhane and Ziyagökalp neighborhoods and two neighborhoods in Yenişehir province are expropriated.
“Surp Giragos Church, the largest Armenian church in Middle East, Surp Sarkis Chaldean Church, Armenian Catholic Church, Virgin Mary Ancient Assyrian Church and Protestant Church are among the places that are expropriated.”
Here we would note that most if not all of these expropriated churches will be converted by their new owners into mosques.
The reality is that Turkey is having to expropriate and evacuate these areas in order to control key supply nodes in preparation for war against the Kurds and against Iran. This war, if it comes, will will have its roots in Turkey’s past transgressions againt the loyal and peaceful Assyrian Christians who once lived within its borders. It will be a problem of Turkey’s own making. Sadly, everyone in the region–including, once again, the Assyrian Christians–will suffer for it.