ISSN: 0041-4255
e-ISSN: 2791-6472

Bülent Özdemi̇r

Keywords: Assyrians, Diaspora, World War I, Identity, Genocide


In the 20th century Assyrians living in Diaspora have increased their search of identity because of the social and political conditions of their present countries. In doing so, they utilize the history by picking up certain events which are still kept fresh in the collective memory of the Assyrian society. World War I, which caused a large segment of the Assyrians to emigrate from the Middle East, has been considered as the milestone event of their history. They preferred to use and evaluate the circumstances during WW I in terms of a genocidal attack of the Ottomans against their nation. This political definition dwarfs the promises which were not kept given by their Western allies during the war for an independent Assyrian state. The aspects of Assyrian civilization existed thousands of years ago as one of the real pillars of their identity suffer from the artificially developed political unification around the aspects of their doom in WWI presented as a genocidal case. Additionally, this plays an efficient role in removal of existing religious and sectarian differences for centuries among Assyrians. This paper aims at showing in the framework of primary sources how Assyrian genocidal claims are being used pragmatically in the formation of national consciousness in a very effective way. Not the Assyrian civilization but their constructed history in WWI is used for the formation of their nation definition.