UPDATE: Jusef Yar, Mayor of Arkah, released from police custody

Update — 13 January 15:30 CET

  • Mayor of Arkah, Jusef Yar, has been released from police custody.
  • Prosecutors have note yet decided if they will bring charges against Mr. Yar.
  • Yar has been ordered to check-in with police once a week.
  • Monk Aho of the Mor Jacob monastery remains in custody.


Update — 10 January 23:50 CET

  • Mayor of Arkah, monk, and a villager were arrested and taken into custody to the city of Mardin.
  • Monk Aho Dilecen of the Mor Jacob monastery and Musa Tastekin were represented today by Ilhan Aydin, a human rights lawyer working for the Mor Gabriel Foundation linked to the Mor Gabriel monastery in the southeast Turkey.
  • Aydin said that the reason for their arrest was that they were suspected of providing food to a man when he was still a member of the PKK – which Turkey considers a terrorist organization.
  • Both monk Aho and Musa Tastekin denied the accusation.
  • Musa Tastekin was set free on Friday evening while monk Aho remains in custody pending formal accusations.
  • Aydin was also expected to visit the Mayor of Arkah, Jusef Yar, who was brought into custody to the city of Kiziltepe.
  • Aydin was not able to comment on his case. No further information on the situation of Jusef Yar is available.


Original Article — 9 January 2020

Three Syriac villagers detained after gendarmerie raids in Turkey’s southeast

Arkah mayor Jusef Yar (left) and monk Aho Delican (right). Images: SuroyoTV.

SOUTHEASTERN TURKEY – This morning, Jusef Yar, the mayor of Arkah (a Syriac village in the Tur Abdin region of Bethnahrin / Mardin Province in Turkey) was arrested following a raid by the Turkish Gendarmerie. At the same time, Turkish soldiers raided the Syriac Orthodox monastery of Yahqub d’Qarne and arrested monk Aho Delican. A third raid in the Syriac village of Sedari led to the arrest of Musa Taştekin.

After the concerted raids and arrests, the three men were initially detained at the police station in the village of Harabale and later transferred to Mardin.

Seven villagers of Arkah went to the police station to inquire about the situation and the reason for the arrests of the monk Aho Delican, mayor Jusef Yar, and Musa Taştekin.

Police did not give a reason for their arrest.