The Ottoman policy of slaughter and deportations in 1915, associated mainly with its Armenian victims, was actually much broader in its scope. Along with more than 1 million Armenians killed, it crushed also the Christian Syriac community, which counts its dead in the hundreds of thousands.
Armenians call the slaughter “the Great Calamity,” while Syriacs remember it as the “Seyfo Massacre” with “seyfo” meaning “sword.” On the 100th anniversary this year, the Syriacs are for the first time holding protests urging Turkey to recognize the Seyfo Massacre and to apologize. On April 21, Syriacs launched a hunger strike in the southeastern province of Mardin, where most of their ancestors perished. The protest, scheduled to end April 24, will last 100 hours, symbolizing the 100 years that have passed since the bloodshed. The Syriacs are also planning to hold a big march in June.