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Muhammad Cartoon Protests Move Into Christian Town in Turkey
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All over the Muslim world people have demonstrated and even burnt down and attacked Danish and other European embassies. The first victims due to the paintings were the Assyrians/Syriacs of Iraq. Six churches belonging to this group have been attacked and three Christian Assyrians/Syriacs have been killed. The massive pressure and the persecutions have extremely frightened the Christians who live among Muslims.

The first European victim is an Italian priest, who attended a church in the city of Trabzon in Turkey. The murder was committed far from the huge demonstrations in the Middle East, here the perpetrators have taken direct action and punished the first Christian person they could find.

The Assyrians/Syriacs of Turabdin in south-eastern Turkey have many times before been forced to pay with their lives for conflicts between Turkey and the West, or between Muslims and Christians in other parts of the world.

On Friday, 10th of February and Saturday, 11th of February 2006, large demonstrations took place in the city of Midyat in Turabdin. Thousands of fanatic Muslims gathered in Estel, the new part of the city, and started to march towards the old part of Midyat, where the Christians live.

The events raise many questions and remind of the days of the Cyprus conflict and other conflicts, when the Assyrians/Syriacs were punished for being Christians. It is nothing strange that Muslims who feel offended demonstrate. But what seems strange is that the demonstration took place in Turabdin, where there are no Scandinavian embassies to burn down.

The demonstration was aimed at what is left of the Christian Assyrian/Syriac group. This is confirmed by the fact that the mob that had gathered in Estel walked all the 6 kilometers to Midyat to get to the Christian Assyrians/Syriacs. The mob was stopped by the police right before reaching Midyat. If Turkey had not been in membership negotiations with the EU right now, the authorities would not have stopped the mob, there are many examples of that from the past.

During the last 5 years many Assyrians/Syriacs have moved back to Turabdin, and many more are building and renovating their houses, hoping that things have changed and improved in Turabdin and the rest of Turkey. But the events of the last days indicate the contrary.

The mayor of Midyat visited the Assyrians/Syriacs of Sweden last year. He did not go to Sweden to apologize to the Assyrians/Syriacs for having been chased away from the lands of their ancestors and forced into diaspora. On the contrary he wanted to entice the Assyrians/Syriacs to return home and invest in Midyat and the rest of Turabdin. This message has been heard from many sides in Turkey, from the highest instances of the state authority down to the mayors of Midyat and Dargecit (Kerboran).

The Assyrians/Syriacs have been the property of the feudal clan leaders in Turabdin. When a clan protected Assyrians/Syriacs they did not do it due to respect for human rights or humanity, it was just protecting ones "cattle".

The Assyrians/Syriacs have reached a high level of wealth and financial prosperity. Now different clan leaders try to entice the Assyrians/Syriacs to return. Neither this is due to respect for human values or anything like that, now it is all about milking the "cattle".

By Dikran Ego
EasternStar New Agency

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