KFARBURAN/MARDIN, Turkey – The recent discovery of an estimated 40 human skulls and bones in and around a cave near Kfarburan (Kerboran), Dargeçit district of Turkey’s southeastern Mardin province, have raised questions as to their origins and dating. The authorities of Mardin province have sealed off the area and are conducting investigations.
Syriac Member of Turkish Parliament for the Democratic Peoples’ Party (HDP) Tuma Çelik, has inquired with the Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu on the origins of the human skulls and bones. His questions to the Minister come after media reports saying the skulls and bones are believed to be belonging to victims of unsolved murders in Turkey’s Southeast.
Mardin dargeçit ilçesinde toplu mezar bulundu! 90 yıllara ait faili meçhul cinayetlere kurban gidenlere ait olduğu düşünülüyor. Yarın incelemelerde bulunulacak. pic.twitter.com/jULkhTP2Kj
— İslam Sancar (@islamsancar47) May 29, 2020
HDP MP Çelik thinks the skulls and bones might have been moved from a construction site near Kfarboran (Dargeçit) which used to be a Syriac cemetery. On the site a park and wedding hall are under construction. In the introductory speech to his inquiry to the Minister, MP Çelik said that according to his information, the area where the park and the wedding hall are build is the site of an old Syriac Cemetery, not in use for a while. During the construction work, said Çelik, it is possible the graves and tombstones were transported by construction vehicles to an unknown place.
Hence, MP Çelik asked what happened to the skulls and bones found during the construction work and why the moving of the bones was not known to the grave owners, the Syriac foundations (“Vakif”) and associations in Mardin province, even though the construction site in question is known to be a cemetery. During his inquiry, MP Çelik asked several questions:
- According to records of the Mardin Metropolitan Municipality, which is administered by the state appointed trustee, how many Syriac cemeteries are there in the Dargeçit district?
- According to the records of the Mardin Metropolitan Municipality, which is administered by the state appointed trustee, how many Syriac cemeteries are there in the city of Mardin?
- According to the records of the Mardin Metropolitan Municipality, , which is administered by the state appointed trustee, how many Armenian cemeteries are there in the city of Mardin.
- Have any other human bones been found during construction and excavation works in the municipality?
- What is the procedure when construction work is commenced in any cemetery area?
Kfarboran or Kerboran is one of the larger and originally Syriac villages in Tur Abdin. It had Syriac Orthodox, Syriac Catholic, and Syriac Protestant (pictured) churches. In 1970, about two thirds of the population of 2,000 villagers were Syriacs. However, Muslim villagers made life difficult for the Syriacs and in 1979, the last Syriac moved away from Kfarboran.