Turkey’s first Syriac language course ends

In a historic achievement, 42 participants were awarded certificates Tuesday after completing Turkey’s first Syriac language course, run by a university in the southeastern province of Mardin.

In a speech at the graduation ceremony, the rector of Artuklu University, Serdar Bedi Omay, expressed his gratitude and said being able to teach the Syriac language in universities was an important accomplishment for the school.

“This is a historic step both for us and the academia,” the rector said.

“After the Ottoman Empire fell apart, some pro-monoculture administrations tried to lock the Arabic language in mosques, Syriac in churches and Kurdish into houses. Now a significant tradition is coming back to life,” Omay said. “Our university will keep supporting it. In September we will start working to start a Syriac-language undergraduate program.”

Other achievements

Artuklu University is also known for starting Turkey’s first Kurdology program under the Living Languages Institute, which offers the Syriac course.

A priest from Mardin’s Kırklar Church, Gabriel Akyüz, said he never expected such a course to be offered. “We are very happy about the development and we want the university to continue with these studies,” he said.

After the speeches, the attendants received their certificates, prepared in both Syriac and Turkish