The Assyrian case: the impact of the European Union on Turkey's minority rights concept
Köseoğlu, Ayman (2014) The Assyrian case: the impact of the European Union on Turkey's minority rights concept. [Thesis]
By setting the ‘non-Muslim’ conditionality in the Treaty of Lausanne as the only criterion to be granted with minority protection, many ethnic groups whose homeland is in Turkey have been excluded from minority protection. The Assyrians, a non-Muslim community inhabiting these territories for 5500 years and who fit the minority definition of the Treaty of Lausanne, have long struggled to gain the same rights granted to the officially recognized minorities, namely Armenians, Greeks, and Jews. Turkey’s unwillingness in recognizing Assyrians as a minority group is a clear indication that broadening the minority concept is not preferable by the State. However, only recently, have the Assyrians been granted with broader rights to sustain their culture and tradition. While a court case ruled in favor of Assyrians right to make use of their rights as stated in the Treaty of Lausanne, an official acknowledgement about their recognition has not been made by state officials. Although the court decision is a very recent development and a precedent case, legal and operational shortcomings with regards to protection of Assyrians’ rights continue to exist. However, the case is a clear indication that the Turkish government is changing their attitude towards the Assyrians. Acknowledging the alteration in the government’s approach, this study analyzes how the European Union (EU) is the actual motivator behind Turkey’s changing approach towards the status of Assyrians. The EU influences Turkey’s policy by acting as an influential voice for the Assyrians.
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