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The Long Road to Tur Abdin PDF Print E-mail

The book in three languages - 2006

A marvellous book has been published in Istanbul. Its Turkish title is Hasret RuzgariThe Longing Wind in English. The book is written by the Turkish writer Hakan Aytekin. The immediate cause to the writing of this book was a letter from Isa Bakir, a Christian refugee from southeastern Turkey, who has been living in the Netherlands for over twenty years. Coincidence? There is no such thing. You just have to discover the deeper links.  

Isa Sumer

Isa Bakir was born in Tur Abdin, the Christian enclave in the southeast of Turkey. His native village is Harabemishka, a tiny place in the Izlo hills close to the border with Syria. Many years ago Isa Bakir emigrated from there to Western Europe. Holland became his new homeland in a way, but his real native soil kept haunting his mind and his soul. In 1992 he wrote a long letter to the Turkish tv-station TRT International in Ankara. In that letter he requested the station to broadcast the song The Longing WindHasret Ruzgari by the popular Turkish singer Orhan Gencebay. That request was not met with and the letter ended up in the wastepaper basket. It was accidentally found back by a TRT- collaborator. He read the letter and the word Süriyani in it intrigued him. Süriyani is the Turkish denomination for the Suryoye, the Aramaic speaking Christian minority in southeastern Turkey. The TRT-collaborator happened to be a close friend of the writer Hakan Aytekin and he gave him the letter. The writer got inspired by its content and his interest in the Suryoye-Assyrian community was aroused.            
Hakin Aytekin tried to get into touch with the person, completely unknown to him, who had written that letter. His efforts remained without any positive result at first. It was a matter of return to sender, address unknown, since Isa Bakir had removed to Enschede and could not react on the letters sent by the Turkish writer. Only eight years later, in 2000, Hakan Aytekin found the man he had been looking for for such a long time. They started writing letters to each other. From that correspondence the book Hasret Ruzgari - The Longing Wind emerged. Aytekin’s book is written in three languages, Turkish, English and Neo-Aramaic, and it contains marvellous pictures of Tur Abdin. The Turkish writer has also visited that region, where Isa Bakir was born.         
Hakan Aytekin is a writer and a film director. He lectures on the subject Movies and Media at the Maltepe University in Istanbul. In 2001, thanks to Isa Bakir’s lost letter, he released a film about the Suryoye community of Tur Abdin. The Turkish title of this documentary is Isik Sesini Ariyor, which means Light Searching Its Voice. The film was awarded in Turkey. In 2005 Hakan Aytekin also received the award of the Swedish Assyrian Federation, which every year honours a person for his great merit in favour of the Suryoye-Assyrian people.       
Hakan Aytekin
Together with Isa Bakir I met Hakan Aytekin in Istanbul in 2006. He is a truly progressive and open-minded author, a man who dicovered the Suryoye community by chance and who has done so much for our people in Tur Abdin and abroad. Was it all just coincidence? About coincidence the famous German author Friedrich Schiller wrote: There is no such thing as coincidence; what appears to us as blind and arbitrary caprice, finds its origin in very deep sources.              
You can order the book Hasret Ruzgari (25 euro) by mail: 
Isa Sumer was from 1998 till 2006 city councillor in Enschede, Holland. He wrote the book (in Dutch) God’s Forgotten Children. Suryoye-Assyrians in the Diaspora