Syriacs stage demonstration in Berlin for religious freedom in Turkey
Some 3,000 people, including the Archbishop of the Syriac Orthodox
Church in Germany, Hanna Aydin, seen in the middle of this photo,
staged a demonstration in front of the Berlin Cathedral on Sunday,
Jan. 25, demanding religious freedom for Syriac Orthodox Christians in
Turkey. Syriacs are one of Turkey's oldest communities, descendants of
a branch of Middle Eastern Christianity. These Christians, united by a
language derived from Aramaic, are split into several Orthodox and
Catholic denominations. There were 250,000 Syriacs when Ataturk
founded Turkey after World War I from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire.
Today they number 20,000. Syriacs migrated throughout the 20th century
to Europe, fleeing first persecution by the new secular republic, and
later to escape violence between Kurdish separatist rebels and the
Turkish military in the southeast.