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Chronology of the Seyfo Genocide (1915-1923

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  • Chronology of the Seyfo Genocide (1915-1923

    Chronology of the Seyfo Genocide (1915-1923)
    Prepared by Zinda Magazine


    12 April
    Mar Benyamin Shimmun is consecrated as the 117th Patriarch of the Church of the East.


    Russian control Iranian Azerbaijan (Urmia).


    In Ottoman Empire (modern Turkey) the Committee of Union and Progress leads a rebellion against Ottoman sultan Abdulhamid II. The Comittee of Union and Progress (The Young Turks) is formed.

    The Ottoman government declares Turkish as the only language allowed in schools.


    In Iran Mohammad Shah is deposed; succeeded by his 12-years-old son Ahmad Shah. In Turkey, Sultan Abdul Hamid II is deposed by Young Turks; succeeded by his brother Mohammad V.

    Germans and British officials discuss control of the Baghdad Railroad.


    Russian troops enter northwest Iran.


    29 January
    In Turkey, the triumvirate of Enver Pasha, Talaat Pasha and Jemal Pasha heads the government.


    British forces in Basra move to protect oil pipelines in Iran from Ottoman/German capture.

    World War I begins

    1 August
    Germany declares war on Russia.

    2 August
    A secret treaty of alliance is signed between Turkey and Germany virtually placing the Turkish armed forces under German command.

    3 August
    The Turkish government sends sealed envelopes containing a general mobilization order to district and village councils, with the strict instructions that they were not to be opened until further notice. Two weeks later, with the approval of the Ittihad Committee, instructions are issued to open the envelopes.

    18 August
    Over one thousand Christian shops are destroyed in Diyarbakir.

    30 October
    Bashkala massacre of 50 Gawarnai Assyrians by Muslim mob.

    2 November
    Russia declares war on Turkey.

    4 November
    Fatwa for Jihad declared in Istanbul against Christians.

    18 November
    The Jihad Proclamation against Christians is read in all the provinces of the Ottoman Empire.

    Year of the Sword (Seyfo - Sepah)

    Turkish War Minister Enver Pasha is disastrously defeated in at the hands of Russian troops, marking a failure of his Pan-Turanian plans. The Turkish authorities decree the demobilization and disarmament of the Ottoman Christians. The Armenians are grouped into small work battalions used for garbage details and similar tasks. The Armenian soldiers in the Turkish army, under the pretext of work details, are marched and killed in cold blood or used for target practice.

    26 February
    Enver Pasha convenes 75 top ranking Ittihadists (unionists). This secret meeting finalizes the details of the plan to carry out a genocide of the Ottoman Christians. Evidence indicates that the decision to carry out the Seyfo Genocide was made some years earlier.

    Turks arrest Mar Shimmun’s brother, Hormiz, who was then murdered.

    15 April
    Order from the Committee on Union and Progress to rid eastern Turkey of Christians: A secret decree is sent out by Talaat, Enver and Nazem to the local governments for the removal and extermination of the Ottoman Christians.

    24 April
    800 Armenian leaders, writers and intellectuals are arrested in Constantinople and murdered.

    Ottoman Assyrians flee to Russia,Iran, Aleppo and Jerusalem in wake of the genocide. Local Muslims attack and kill Bishop Mar Dinkha and 60 men in Golpashan. 700,000 Assyrians, 1.5 Million Armenians, & 300,000 Pontic Greeks perish between 1915 and 1919.

    24 May
    Russians defeat Turks in Sarikamish, killing 70,000 Turkish soldiers. Russians re-occupy Urmia.
    The governments of England, France and Russia jointly warn the Turkish government publicly that "They will hold personally responsible... all members of the Ottoman government and those of their agents who are implicated in such massacres".

    26 June
    The removal of the Christians of Kharput are commenced by the Turkish army. Photocopy of the original deportation order (written in old Turkish with Arabic characters) is to be found in the Archives of the United States State Department in Washington, DC.

    1 July
    Christians are deported from Tur-Abdin, cities of Nisibin, Bitlis, Mardin..

    Russians retreat again and 18,000 Assyrians & Armenians follow them into Russia.

    12 December
    Talaat, Minister of the Interior, sends a telegram to the Prefecture of Aleppo in Syria. He states that in view of the rather compassionate attitude of certain local chiefs with respect to the Christian orphans, the order is given that the orphans be sent away with the caravans, with the exception of the very young ones unable to remember the atrocities.

    19 August
    Deportation of Christians from Urhai (Urfa) in Tur-Abdin begins.


    Beginning of Arab revolt against Ottoman Turks in Hijaz. Hussein proclaims himself King of the Arabs.

    9 February
    U.S. President Woodrow Wilson designates August 21 and August 22 for making contributions for the suffering Armenians.

    7 March
    Talaat, Minister of the Interior, sends a cable to the Aleppo Prefecture in Syria, ordering the extermination of children at military installations.

    The Sykes-Picot Agreement between Britain, France, and Russia to divide Ottoman Empire after WWI. Hussain is proclaimed king of Arabs.


    Russian revolution leads to dissolution of Russian military in Iran.


    8 January
    President Wilson’s Declaration of Fourteen Points is published. The 12th Point extends promise to the Armenians of security of life and an unmolested opportunity for autonomous development.

    Enver Pasha's troops enter Iran as all Assyrians join to defend themselves. Combined local Muslim & Turkish troops capture Urmia.

    16 March
    Kurdish chief, Simko, assassinates Mar Benyamin Shimmun in Salamas, Iran. Pillage of Assyrian villages in Iran and attempt to cleanse area of Christians begins. British truck fleeing Assyrians to refugee camps.

    15 April
    Mar Polous Shimmun is consecrated as the 118th Patriarch of the Church of the East in Urmia, Iran.
    October 1918 Ottoman Empire disintegrates.

    30 October
    The Armistice of Moudros ends the war between the Allies and Turkey. Global estimates of the campaign of extermination: 1,500,000 Armenians, 750,000 Assyrians, 350,000 Pontic Greeks.


    Treaty of Sevres officially ends the war between Allies and Turkey. League of Nations is formed. British use Assyrian refugees to enforce occupation of Mesopotamia. Assyrians are denied representation at Paris Peace Conference due to British. Under French protection, the Assyrian Protectorate in Jazirah (Khabour area of Syria) forms under Malik Kambar d-Malik Warda of Jelu.


    Mar Polous Shimmun passes away in the Bakuba refugee camp in Iraq.

    10 June
    Treaty of Sevres is signed by Turkey. Provides for Kurds, Arabs, Armenians but not Assyrians. Formation of Mesopotamia as British mandate. Assyrians return to Hakkari but accept draft into British Levies to guard Mosul from Turks on promise of homeland.

    20 June
    Mar Shimmun Ishaya, 13, is consecrated as the 119th Patriarch of the Church of the East.

    24 July
    French forces occupy Damascus. The French Mandate over Syria begins.


    Patriarchal family with British refuse French-backed offer to move Assyrians to Jazira, Syria. British use Assyrian Levies to guard Kirkuk oil fields. Kurdish Iraqi revolt under Sheikh Mahmud.

    27 August
    The British install Faisal as king of Iraq.


    Mesopotamia officially becomes "Iraq". Treaty of Lausanne leaves Mosul issue for League of Nations to settle.


    League of Nations assigns most of oil-rich Mosul Velayat to Iraq.


    Kurdish uprising against Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. The constitution of 1925 guarantees all minorities in Iraq equality before the law, including civil and political rights, and rights to practice their language and religion.


    Turkey agrees to giving up Mosul after initial protest.

  • #2
    The Quiet Tragedy of Iraq's Assyrians By Peter BetBasoo | December 14, 2004
    To paraphrase William Shakespeare, “Something is rotten in the state of Iraq.” Something is definitely rotten when the second-largest minority, the third-largest ethnicity and the only indigenous group in Iraq is nearly shut out of the political process and is the target of violence by Arabs, Kurds, Muslims and terrorists. On August 1, six of their churches were bombed, five more were attacked on October 16, and there is a long list of violence against them.
    I am referring to the Assyrians, also known as Chaldeans and Syriacs. They are the only people native to Iraq, and they are Christian. We all know the Assyrians from our ancient history classes, or from the Bible; they are the builders of the great Mesopotamian civilizations when that area, now Iraq, was the center of the civilized world.
    “What?” you may ask. “Are they still around? I thought they went the way of the dodo.” Well, not quite.

    The Assyrian Empire was overthrown in 612 B.C. by the ancestors of today’s Kurds, the Medes (with the help of others). The Assyrians survived as a people. They converted to Christianity in 33 A.D., accepting the Gospel from St. Thomas, St. Thaddeus and St. Bartholomew, and thereafter embarked on establishing their second empire, the Church of the East, which reached to Mongolia, Korea, China, Japan and the Philippines. The influence of the Church of the East is seen to this day across the Asian continent. The Mongolian alphabet, which was first set down by Assyrian monks, uses Aramaic letters (because Assyrians speak Aramaic), and the hierarchical structure of Buddhism is modeled after the Church of the East. In fact, “Tora Bora” is an Assyrian phrase meaning “arid mountain."

    Assyrians have lived in northern Iraq since 5000 B.C. The Arabs entered Iraq in 630 A.D. from Saudi Arabia and the Kurds came in 1050 A.D. from southwest Iran. The Turks are from Anatolia. Yet, despite their long history in the region, there is systematic discrimination against and disenfranchisement of Assyrians. They suffer deep-seated racial and religious bigotry because Assyrians 1) are Assyrians, 2) are Christians and 3) have their own language (modern Aramaic).

    This is not a new problem. Assyrians have been the object of hate and discrimination since the coming of Islam, which treated them as Dhimmis, “people of the book,” recognized by the Koran yet treated as second-class citizens. What is new is the political context they find themselves in today. The sweeping changes brought about by the liberation of Iraq certainly have offered opportunities for the Assyrians, and they have managed to take advantage of them. However, the battle has been bitterly fought, even for the few and modest gains the Assyrians have made.

    Though the Assyrians number an estimated 1.5 to 2 million (not 800,000, as is widely parroted in the media) people, or about 8 percent of the Iraqi population, they were allotted only 1 of 25 ministerial positions (Immigration and Refugees, the symbolism of which is not lost on the Assyrians). Percentages dictated that two positions should have gone to them. In contrast, the Kurds, numbering 3 million (12 percent), gained five positions, and the Turks, who number only 250,000 (1 percent), gained 1 position. Of the 100 seats in the Iraqi National Assembly, Assyrians gained four, while Kurds gained 25 and Turks gained eight.

    Add to this political marginalization the violence targeted at the Assyrians—violence that has no direct military, economic or political effect other than the intended creation of a general sense of mass panic—and it is no wonder that some Assyrians feel there is no future for them in Iraq. It is reported that 40,000 have left Iraq since the August 1 church bombings.

    It is this religious, bigoted violence that has concerned the Assyrian community the most. Political maneuvering and machinations are understandable, and are expected in any electoral process, but the specter of massacre, pogrom and genocide strikes a resounding chord in the Assyrian psyche. Assyrians have so frequently suffered both small- and large-scale genocides, the fear is deeply rooted in their subconscious. Since 630 A.D., the coming of Islam, Assyrians have suffered 33 genocides at the hands of Muslims—an average of one every 40 years. The worst one occurred in World War I, between 1915 and 1918, when 75 percent of Assyrians (750,000) were killed by Kurds and Turks. One of the first official acts of the newly formed Iraqi state, having just gained its independence from a British mandate in 1932, was to massacre 3,000 Assyrians in the village of Simmele and its surroundings on August 7-11, 1933.

    The similarity between 2003 and 1933 has not escaped the Assyrians. The political disenfranchisement and religious violence have prompted Assyrians, particularly those in the Diaspora, who have more freedom to speak, to call for the establishment of an Assyrian Administrative Area—a safe haven—lest history repeat itself and they again suffer large-scale massacres. There is legal justification for such an administrative area in article 53D of the Transitional Administrative Law of Iraq, which states, “This Law shall guarantee the administrative, cultural, and political rights of the Turcomans, ChaldoAssyrians, and all other citizens.” To date, Assyrians have not fully enjoyed these privileges, even in the Kurdish areas, where the Kurds have applied to the Assyrians the same intimidation, terror, marginalization and violent tactics that Saddam applied to them.

    The case of the Assyrians in Iraq is being closely observed by other Middle Eastern Christian and non-Muslim communities, such as the non-Muslim Yezidis and Mandeans of Iraq, the Christian Copts of Egypt and Maronites of Lebanon. As the Director of the Center for Religious Freedom at Freedom House, Nina Shea recently called Assyrians “canaries in a coal mine." What happens to them will have effect far beyond Iraq’s borders, for they are the litmus test of the establishment of democracy in the Middle East. True democracies protect their minorities. Failure to protect the Assyrians of Iraq will embolden other Middle Eastern regimes to persecute their Christian minorities. On the other hand, protection of the Assyrians will be seen as a true paradigm shift in the way Middle Eastern regimes treat their Christian minorities.

    Why is the Assyrian case important to America? It is a matter of moderating Islam, the source of the terrorist threat against America and the rest of the non-Muslim world. If Middle Eastern Muslims can learn to be tolerant, to accept and even protect their Christian minorities, they will set the example for the world’s mainstream Muslims and provide an alternative to the message of Osama bin Laden and the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia. The Assyrians are a moderating presence in Iraq. They are a highly educated group and their departure from Iraq would, in the words of Nina Shea, “substantially reduce Iraq's prospects of developing as a pluralistic and democratic society. Their leaving would be not only a ‘brain drain’ but a ‘sane drain’ as well.”

    Failure to establish a new and democratic Iraq will be seen as a defeat of America and as a victory for the terrorists, and in such a case none of us would be safe. America simply cannot afford to fail in Iraq. In addition, the United States must insure that the Assyrians remain in Iraq and have full political, economic and social participation. Lastly, Americans must not refrain from standing up for Assyrians for fear of being perceived as “pro-Christian.” It is vital that America remain true to the principles of democracy and support all minorities in Iraq, even if they are Christian.
    Peter BetBasoo is an Assyrian from Iraq and the co-founder and director of the Assyrian International News Agency ( He can be reached at [email protected].</SPAN>


    • #3
      thank you for posting this artical.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Assyrian
        thank you for posting this artical.
        Thank you for posting it.

        What befell the Assyrians, Chaldeans, and Pontic Greeks was a genocide. I think it should be qualified as a Christian genocide and not just an Armenian genocide.
        General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”


        • #5
          Assyrian Genocide Seyfo 1915: The Missing Chapter of Ottoman History

          Assyria Times, CA
          May 8 2006

          Assyrian Genocide Seyfo 1915: The Missing Chapter of Ottoman History
          5/7/2006 23:29:32
          For Immediate Release

          Wednesday, May 10, 2006 at 6:00 PM

          The Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre
          Thornaugh St Russell Square London WC1H 0XG

          The genocide of over 750,000 Assyrian Christians at the hands of the
          Ottoman Empire in 1915 has largely been forgotten by the world. The
          pain of this genocide is still a dark shadow over the Assyrian
          people. This pain and suffering continues in the collective
          conscience of the Assyrian Christians as Turkey continues to deny and
          publicly denounce responsibility for this largely forgotten genocide
          during the First World War.

          The Department for the Study of Religions (SOAS), together with
          Firodil and Gomidas Institutes, two prominent and leading Assyrian
          and Armenian institutes dedicated to lobbying for the recognition of
          the Assyrian and Armenian genocide through academic and scholarly
          research, have organized a prestigious speaking event and the premier
          of Cry Unheard, a documentary film by Nuri Kino at SOAS.

          The leading speakers will include:

          Dr. Erica Hunter: BA MA DPHIL PHD Dept for Study of religions SOAS.

          Sabri Atman: Assyrian scholar specializing in the Assyrian Genocide,
          author of I long for Mesopotamia and The Assyrian-Syriacs.

          Nuri Kino: Award winning Swedish Journalist, and winner of 2006
          Golden Palm Award at the Beverly Hills Film Festival.

          Mr. Andrew Michael of Firodil Institute said: `We are organising this
          event to present academic scholars and students alike with unbiased
          and factual information regarding the genocide of the Assyrians. The
          academia world and the intelligentsia have a pivotal role to play; it
          is their moral obligation to take a stance and advocate Turkey's
          recognition of these atrocious crimes committed against the Assyrian
          and Armenian Christians.'

          For more Information Contact:
          Nineb Lamassu
          Tel: 07-96-922-4642
          Email: [email protected]

          Ninos Warda
          Tel: 07-75-904-6837
          Email: [email protected]

          "All truth passes through three stages:
          First, it is ridiculed;
          Second, it is violently opposed; and
          Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

          Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)


          • #6
            Belgium: The comment of Dogan Özgüden on the documentary film Seyfo-L' Elimination

            Transalated by Google

            Thursday June 8, 2006, Stéphane/armenews

            The projection of film documentary on the genocide of Assyro-chaldéens, heading “Seyfo - Elimination” and carried out by Robert Alaux and Nahro Beth-Kinnea, take place on Saturday June 3 with the Basilica of Koekelberg in Brussels.

            The Belga Agency diffused the following dêpeche concerning this evening:

            Documentary on the massacres of Assyro-chaldéens in Turkey

            The massacres whose the object the people assyro-chaldéen in the south-east of the Othoman Empire at the beginning of the twentieth century made in the middle of documentary are presented Saturday for the first time in Belgium in front of some members of Parliament of the sp.a-Spirit, of Groen! and of the cdH.

            “Seyfo, elimination” is the fruit of two realizers of which one lives in Belgium since more than twenty years.

            Nahro Beth-Kinne, Belgian of Assyrian origin, is turned over in 2005 on the ground of its ancestors, in the area of Diyarbakir, to Turkey, not far from the Iraqi border. It in particular went to Midyat in Tur Abdin, the city where it grew and found of Assyro-chaldéens centenaries of language araméenne, witnesses of the massacres of the Assyrian, syriaques populations and chaldéennes between 1915 and 1918.

            The Christian diaspora assyro-chaldéenne estimates itself forgotten by the big Armenian brother in her combat for the recognition of the genocide. According to Assyro-chaldéens, the genocide made on the initiative of Turkish the Jeune government aimed at the whole of the population not-Moslem woman of the area, mainly Christian but also Jewish.

            Assyro-chaldéens estimate that between 75 and 90% of their ethnos group was exterminated in the south-east of Turkey. Several hundreds of thousands of them lived in the area at the beginning of the twentieth century. Since the massacres of 1915 and the exoduses which followed throughout the twentieth century, there remains nothing any more but a one small thousand of Assyro-chaldéens.

            The documentary one mentions various written sources (diplomatic correspondence, testimony of ecclesiastics), is based on testimonys of a researcher and, especially, survivors.

            At the time of its Saturday presentation in Brussels, the regional deputies Jan Beghin (sp.a-Spirit), Adelheid Byttebier (Groen!) and Denis Grimberghs (cdH) came to give their support.

            It was also the case of the Turkish journalist Dogan Özgüden who directs association Information-turk. This last in particular fustigated “the Belgian political world which had the honor to be one of the pioneers of the recognition of the genocide of 1915 and which yields unceasingly to the blackmail of the mode of Ankara, integrating the followers of Seyfiye (Othoman military elite, note) in their electoral rolls to be able to obtain some votes of the voters of Turkish extraction, hostages of the Embassy of Turkey, the organizations ultra-nationalists or integrist”.

            Assyro-chaldéens they are several thousands in Belgium are for the majority partisans of the integration of Turkey in the European Union, estimating that this one will oblige Ankara to respect the rights of the minorities.

            Co-realized by the French Robert Alaux, already author in 2004 of film “the last Assyrians”, “Seyfo, elimination” (Seyfo means “the sword” and is the name given by Assyro-chaldéens to the massacres of 1915, note) is documentary 52 minutes. Published in French and syriaque (modern dialect derived from the traditional araméen), this film is available near [email protected]. /. (Belga-OCH/MPA, June 5, 2006)

            The complete text of the intervention of Dogan Özgüden
            “As a Turkish journalist protestor, I congratulate Robert Alaux and Nahro Beth-Kinne for the realization on documentary if necessary in order to include/understand the reality of Turkey, the large country which is ours, country of the Armenians, Assyro-chaldéens, Greeks, Juifs, Kurds, Turks and others…

            “The title of this documentary exceptional is eloquent. Seyfo…

            “Indeed, at the beginning of the 20th century, hundreds of thousands of people were massacred by Seyfo, the sword.

            “I make a point of specifying that seyfo is the symbol of the domination of the Army not only in the Othoman Empire but also in the Republic of Turkey.

            “A the Othoman empire, the military elite was called Seyfiye, i.e. the Master of the sword. The two other elites, mülkiye, elite administrative, and ilmiye, elite chocolate éclair-academic were accessory to Seyfiye in all its repressive and expansionist operations. It there has 91 years, this sword, Seyfo, massacred hundreds of thousands of Assyro-chaldéens and Armenians.

            “Alas, Turkey of today, despite everything its democratic claims, strikes the door of the European Union not by a branch of olive-tree, but by the sword of the Army, Seyfo.

            “The negationnism campaign of the genocide of the Armenians and Assyro-chaldéens of it is the irrefutable proof. In this ashamed countryside, the mülkiye and the ilmiye, i.e., the elites politico-administrative and academic-media of Turkey are shown as aggressive as the seyfiye.

            “A last word… Unfortunately, the Belgian political world which had the honor to be one of the pioneers of the recognition of the genocide of 1915 yields unceasingly to the blackmail of the mode of Ankara and integrate the followers of Seyfiye in their electoral rolls to be able to obtain some votes of the voters of Turkish extraction, hostages of the Embassy of Turkey, the organizations ultra-nationalists or integrist.

            “Seyfo unfortunately did not remain a tragic memory of it there has one century, but currently haunts the political life not only in Turkey but also in Europe and in particular in Belgium.

            “Nahro and Robert… I congratulate you for your film and I wish that it serf to awake the Belgian political world before he is not too late.”
            "All truth passes through three stages:
            First, it is ridiculed;
            Second, it is violently opposed; and
            Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

            Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)