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Aramean request for education in mother tongue rejected.

ySTANBUL (CyHAN)- The Education Ministry has recently rejected a request by Turkey's Aramean (Syriac) community to open its own kindergarten and deliver education in their mother tongue on the grounds that the community is not designated a minority in the Constitution.

The request marked a first in the history of the Turkish Republic. In remarks appearing in the Vatan daily on Thursday, Sait Susin, a representative from the Aramean community in Turkey, said the ystanbul-based Syriac Kadim Community foundation was planning to open its kindergarten, which would also offer Syriac language lessons. The community submitted a petition to the ystanbul branch of the Education Ministry on June 6 and they received a response rejecting their request on July 26.

Susin talked about the community's experience to deputy chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) HE-seyin Ecelik during an iftar (fast-breaking dinner) event last week. Ecelik disagreed with the education authorities and said the ystanbul head of the Education Ministry must have misunderstood the request.

"Our government will meet this demand. We are open to requests by minorities' foundations," Susin quoted Ecelik as saying.

There are roughly 25,000 Arameans in Turkey and 85 percent of their population lives in ystanbul. Susin said the Syriac language dates back to 5,000 years ago and the language was named as such after Arameans were converted to Christianity. The 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, the main agreement regulating minorities in Turkey, recognized only Jewish, Armenian and Greek Orthodox communities as minorities. These groups were given legal rights to establish foundations and deliver education in their languages.

(Cihan/TOday's Zaman) CyHAN

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Publication:Cihan News Agency (CNA)
Date:Aug 16, 2012
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