Hmm. Maybe their entry into the EU will actually accomplish some good. I still doubt it, however: “thousands” of Assyrian Christians have been encouraged to return, and “dozens” have done so. They have good reason to be so hesitant. From Christian Today, with thanks to Anthony:
Last month, the European Union agreed to hold future entry talks with Turkey. As a predominately Muslim country, Turkey is being requested to reinforce religious freedom and human rights as a condition of entering the EU. According to the Associated Press, under the pressure of the EU, Turkey has invited the ancient Turkish Christian community to return to the country….
As the Assyrian Christians had defied the Turkish authorities and had always maintained their independence, a programme of Massacres and exiles was carried out in 1915. Millions of Assyrian children, men and women were tortured and massacred or expelled from their homes by the Muslim Turks and Kurds for being Christian….
Many Assyrian Christians have became unemployed, therefore many of them emigrate to Germany, Switzerland and other European countries. The number of Christians in the region has reduced to around 4,000 at most. In Haberli, where around 75 families lived 30 years ago, nowadays only about 20 families remain.
An EU report in October said “very few” Assyrians have returned due to harassment by pro-government Kurdish militiamen and paramilitary police.
According to the Associated Press, a sign at the entrance to Haberli for Assyrian Christian proclaims that “The motherland is a whole and cannot be divided – a tacit warning to Kurdish rebels and anyone else seeking separate status.”
Turkey, which faces European pressure to return displaced villagers to the region and to grant more rights to minorities, is encouraging thousands of Assyrians to come back, and dozens have returned, Assyrians say. Governor Osman Gunes’ visit to Assyrian towns and monasteries underlined the new spirit.