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Thousands of Assyrians Rally in Sweden in Support of Besieged Monastery in Turkey

12/15/08 Turkey (Assyrian International News Agency) – Nearly four thousand Assyrians gathered in the town of Södertälje on Sunday to protest the attempts by Muslim village leaders in south-eastern Turkey to confiscate lands belonging to the ancient Saint Gabriel monastery (AINA 12-2-2008, 9-16-2008).

Representatives of major Swedish political parties, Assyrian organizations and bishops were present to convey a message of support to the 1600 years old monastery.

Assyrian representatives committed themselves to do whatever is necessary to stop the attacks against what they consider to be the last standing Assyrian Christian symbol in south eastern Turkey.

European politicians are standing by the Assyrians and the Saint Gabriel monastery (AINA 12-9-2008). The German ambassador to Turkey, Dr. Eckart Cuntz, visited the monastery (AINA 12-12-2008) and Swedish MPs Mats Pertorft and Yilmaz Kerimo are planning to attend the second court hearings which will begin on the 19 December.

Between 1914-1918 a genocide was perpetrated against the Assyrian population in northern Mesopotamia and especially in the areas of what is today south eastern Turkey. Turks and Kurds cooperated to wipe out the non Muslim population in the name of Jihad. Today only 3000 Assyrians remain in south-eastern Turkey. For many Assyrians today the attacks against the Saint Gabriel monastery are seen as a continuation of the 1914-1918 genocide, which Turkey still denies.