Matosyan: We see our future in the Federation

Girê Spî delegate of the Federation project Lusian Matosyan stated that the federation was important for the future of Armenians.

Girê Spî delegate of the Federation project Lusian Matosyan spoke to ANF, objected to Turkey’s threats and said "Turkey does not want the federation or the freedom of peoples living in Syria." Below is the ANF interview with Matosyan:

How did Armenian people react to the Federation project?

We got excited when we heard of it. With the revolution, pressures and oppression against us had ended. We started to live freely. With the debates on federation, we thought that there would be a legal basis for peoples’ free and equal co-existence and we got happy. With this project, freedoms will be more accessible.

There are not many Armenians left in Til Ebyad. Our numbers are few. Many of the Armenians in Syria went to Armenia, Canada and other countries when the crisis began. The Armenians that stayed here are cheerfully taking their place in autonomous administrations and federation efforts. Armenians and other Christian peoples in Rojava and North Syria participate in these efforts. They know well that freedoms are here and this is the best system for living their lives and practicing their faiths. We participate in all meetings and debates that represent the peoples and offer our insights.

I have been participating in federation debates from the beginning. When we first started to attend the meetings, people accused us of ‘trying to separate Syria.’ However, we organized meetings and debates where we told these people that the federation aimed to establish free and shared co-existence as opposed to separation.

What were the conditions that surrounded Armenian people before Rojava Revolution and the Federation system?

Armenian and Christian peoples had a deep-seated life at the time of the regime. Armenian and Christian peoples have been living for a long period of time. Therefore, we were accepted. But oppression began with the Free Syrian Army. This became cruelty and savagery during the ISIS period. They gave us three options: we would either abandon our lands, live under their cruelty, or pay them…They prevented us from practicing our faith, they said it was ‘haram.’ They prevented us from practicing our faith and traditions. It is not our tradition to wear veils but they forced us to do so.

What do you think are the most important internal and external obstacles to the Federation project?

Of course, there are obstacles to the Federation efforts. Our main obstacle is the problem of mentality. Those with the conservative mindset are obstacles. They do not understand easily. They have the effects of the ISIS period. But we are overcoming it. The meetings here have an impact. We overcame this mentality during the meetings we had with the Arab tribes in Girê Spî. These are the internal obstacles, but there are also external obstacles. They are led by Turkey, and do not want the formation of the federation. They do not want Syrian peoples to live together freely. As Armenians, we know this very well. They massacred us one hundred years ago. They tried to convert the survivors into Islam. They raised our orphans as their own and now they want to do the same to other peoples. We know the Turkish state very well. Syria is the land of Armenians; it is our country. We refuse the Turkish state’s occupation of these lands. They threaten Til Ebyad every day. We do not accept these threats.

Do you believe that the Federation will be successful in both North Syria and Syria in general?

I believe that the Federation will succeed in North Syria and is important for the future of Syria. I believe that the Kurdish, Armenian, Turkmen and Assyrian peoples will live peacefully in these lands. We just need more effort. Everything will be better if everyone focuses on the interests of Syria and its peoples as opposed to their own interests. If everyone pursues her or his own interests, the country will get worse. This is the reason why we have been in these bad conditions.