While they lack a country of their own, Turkey’s Süriyani or Assyrian population have found an unlikely rallying point – a football club in Sweden. Assyriska, a second-division team based near Stockholm, is made up entirely of immigrants, two-thirds of whom are Syrian Orthodox Christians who have emigrated from Turkey.
In 2006, Midyat-born journalist Nuri Kino brought their story to life in an award-winning documentary, Assyriska, charting the side’s progress to a brief spell at the top of the Swedish premiership. The team are a symbol of pride for the Assyrian diaspora throughout the world, who have often been persecuted in their traditional heartlands (modern Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria). The documentary is controversial in Turkey, as it alleges that the massacres suffered by Assyrians at the hands of the Ottomans in World War I amount to genocide. See wnurikino.com for more information.