TURKEY: Documentary about remaining ancient Syriac churches in Hakkari

HAKKARI — The Journalists Union in Turkey, in cooperation with journalists from the European Union, is currently working on a 40-minute documentary about the remaining ancient Syriac churches in Hakkari, southeast Turkey. The film production, which has been ongoing for two months now, is part of the Turkish Journalists Union “Publishing and Media for Democracy” project.

The documentary, entitled “Sahipsız Cığlık”, or Unclaimed Scream, sheds light on the churches and monasteries in Hakkari, such as the Mor Shalito Church and Mor Ishua Monastery.

Dr. Nicholas al Jeloo, a Syriac-Assyrian born in Australia and an expert on issues related to the geography of Syriac villages in the Hakkari and Botan regions. Jeloo has made a series of visits to the churches and villages in the region and has interviewed many long-time residents to collect information in support of the documentary.

Several meetings were also held with the Turkish Ministry of Culture demanding that they preserve the 150 or so churches and historical sites that are in danger of disappearing without repair and maintenance. The producers of the documentary also demanded that the Ministry show interest in preserving the approximately 30 churches that are currently structurally unsound or had their contents stolen.

Unclaimed Scream is expected finish production in two months.