Co-chair of Syriac Union Party on three Syriacs arrested by Turkey: “The charges against them are false and invented”

QAMISHLI – In an interview with Hawar News, Sanharib Barsoum, co-chair of the Syriac Union Party (SUP), stated he believed the arrests of three Syriacs in Turkey last week were done by Turkish authorities to intimidate the Syriac people in Turkey. “Recently, the Turkish authorities arrested three Syriacs, one of them was the mayor of the village of Arkah, the other a monk, the pastor of the monastery of Mor Yacoub, and another a citizen.”

The three men arrested are now out of police custody, with at least the mayor subject to the condition he check-in with the local police on a weekly basis. Of the charges leveled against them, assisting fighters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), considered a terrorist group by the Turkish government, Barsoum remarked, “The charges against them are false and invented.”

In light of the recent arrests of Syriacs in Mardin province, there is now speculation that Turkish authorities may be involved in the disappearance of a Chaldean couple from Mahre village in Hakkiri province. The parents of a Chaldean Catholic priest, the couple have been previously accused by the authorities of assisting fighters of the PKK. They have not been heard from for four days. There has been little action on the part of Turkish authorities to locate the couple.

The actions of Turkish authorities against the Syriac people and the Syriac Church “insulting”, said Barsoum.

He continued, “We know very well the extent of tyranny of the Turkish regime, its methods and its tricks against our people, such as displacement, and their persecution in its regions by means of security and intelligence, and the aim of these methods is to intimidate the Syriac people.”

Barsoum called on international organizations and the international community to ensure Turkey cease human rights violations against the Syriac people and all people.

The full interview can be watched here.