Turkey condemns monument in Sydney dedicated to ‘Syriac genocide’

ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
A monument in the Sydney suburb of Fairfield dedicated to the alleged genocide of Syriac people nearly a century ago has been condemned by the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

“We condemn the unveiling of a ‘[Syriac] genocide’ monument Aug. 7 in the Sydney suburb of Fairfield that skews history and incriminates our country,” ministry spokesman Selçuk Ünal said in a written statement.

“We regret that the federal authorities have participated in this activity, which does not contribute to the relations between our two countries in any way,” he said.

The monument, according to Ünal, is a result of efforts by people who “want to poison the perfect relations between Australia and Turkey and intend to rewrite history for political gain.”

It is alleged that genocide took place between 1914 and 1920 in present-day southeastern Turkey and the Urmia region of northwestern Iran, when the Syriac population in the area was said to have been forcibly relocated and massacred by Ottoman and Kurdish forces.

Support for this view at the federal level in Australia is “a grave and unacceptable development” that is especially disappointing for Turkish citizens residing in that country, Ünal added.

”We hope that federal and local politicians are aware of the dangers that come with individuals who aim to sow seeds of hatred and hostility,” he said.

The spokesman called for an end to these politically minded deviations with an effort befitting the friendship between the Turkish and Australian people.