Siirt, Turkey - Dr. Ekrem Bilek, the president of the Medical Society of the city of Siirt, located in south-east Turkey, and who is a Kurd, has issued a statement on the Turkish genocide of Assyrians, Greeks and Armenians in World War One. The genocide, called Seyfo in Assyrian, began on April 24, and over the course of the next three years claimed Assyrians (75%), Greeks and million Armenians. The genocide was targeted at the three main Christian groups of the Ottoman Empire.
Dr. Bilek's statement follows:
In order for past sorrows and tribulations not to be repeated again and for those with inter-cultural differences to live together in a harmonious way, one must directly confront his or her own history. Normally, the first degree of responsibility for the crimes that are committed and that continue to be committed against humanity falls upon political authorities and powers. However, to remain silent about them is to indirectly become a party to the same crimes.
Anyone who sides with humanitarian values, especially intellectuals and democrats, have the responsibility to confront, condemn and punish these crimes. Fulfilling this responsibility by prosecuting the culprits will contribute to inter-faith dialogue and for cultures to live together in peace.
Any leading action taken by individuals, even though it may be considered a small step, will enable political powers and authorities to confront their past as well as give hope for past grievances to be cleared away. Most importantly such actions will prevent further tragedies from taking place and will contribute towards peace prevailing amongst peoples. In light of this consideration and the humanitarian action taken by Mr Berzan Boti and Mr Sabri Atman, I think similarly, this will mark the beginning of the dialogue between the Kurdish and Assyrian peoples.
While wholeheartedly supporting this humanitarian action which took place late last year, as responsibility falls upon any intellectual, similarly, I would like to point out that I impose upon myself to build the first house for the first family that will return to its land. I hope that this additional small step taken by myself will contribute further towards the peace, brotherhood and tolerance of differences and towards individuals living together freely in peace.
Dr. Ekrem Bilek
President, Siirt Medical Society