Demonstration and rally in Berlin: “Save the Syrian Orthodox monastery Mor Gabriel! Save Christianity in Turkey!”

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SOCIETY FOR THREATENED PEOPLES
INVITATION TO THE HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN

Göttingen/Berlin,

Demonstration and rally in Berlin: “Save the Syrian Orthodox monastery Mor Gabriel! Save Christianity in Turkey!”

On Sunday, 25th January 2009 at 1 p.m. from the Berlin Cathedral
 (Lustgarten) through “Unter den Linden” to the final address at the Brandenburger Tor.

Guest speaker: Sarah Reinke, Europe consultant of the Society for Threatened Peoples

The Society for Threatened Peoples (GfbV) supports the call of the AKTION MOR GABRIEL to the demonstration for saving the monastery Mor Gabriel in the south-east of Turkey. There are fears that its existence is in danger. The reason is that three headmen of neighbouring Moslem Kurdish villages are trying to acquire its land. They want to use parts of the land, which has for centuries belonged to the monastery, as grazing land and lodged a complaint in September 2008 against Mor Gabriel for “wrongful acquisition of land”. The public prosecutor has handed in the complaint to the court. Mor Gabriel is one of the oldest Christian monasteries in the world and one of the few spiritual centres of the Syrian Orthodox Christians still standing in Turkey.

The supporters of the Islamic conservative governing party AKP with the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the forefront, have been trying for several years to stir up the Kurds and Christians against each other in the south-east of Turkey, which is inhabited in the main by Kurds, criticised the GfbV. The human rights organisation has written in recent months to various Kurdish organisations and personalities in Turkey with the urgent request to show solidarity with the 2000 to 3000 remaining Christians in Tur Abdin and to stand up against the supporters of Erdogan in the region. The leader and head of the pro-Kurdish party DTP in the Turkish Parliament, Ahmet Türk, paid a visit to the monastery at the end of December 2008 to express the definite support of his party for Mor Gabriel and the Christian Assyrian Aramaeans in Tur Abdin.

In the middle of the 1960s there were still about 130,000 Syrian Orthodox Christians living in the south-east of Turkey after hundreds of thousands of them had fallen victim to the Turkish genocide in 1915/16.
Many Moslem Kurdish Agas were involved in the crimes. The great majority of the Syrian Orthodox Christians have fled in recent decades as a result of the persecution to central and northern Europe. There are about 60,000 of them in Germany.

Sarah Reinke can be reached in Berlin at tel. ++49 (0)157 71 83 60 82.
The GfbV Near-east consultant, Dr. Kamal Sido, will be glad to answer questions at tel. ++49 (0)173 67 33 980.

 >>>>>>>>>>>>> Für Menschenrechte. Weltweit. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<< Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker / Society for Threatened Peoples P.O. Box 20 24 – D-37010 Göttingen/Germany Nahostreferat/ Middle East Desk Dr. Kamal Sido – Tel: +49 (0) 551 49906-18 – Fax: +49 (0) 551 58028
E-Mail: nahost@gfbv.de – www.gfbv.de