TUR ABDIN: U.S. ambassador to Turkey David Satterfield visits Mor Gabriel monastery days after court sentences monk Aho to 2+ years

MIDYAT, TUR ABDIN, Turkey – U.S. ambassador to Turkey David M. Satterfield visited the ancient Mor Gabriel monastery in Tur Abdin, southeastern Turkey. The high visit comes against the backdrop of the judicial conviction of Syriac monk Sefer “Aho” Beliçen of the Mor Jacob monastery in Tur Izlo, also in Tur Abdin.

Syriac Orthodox monk Aho was convicted of “helping terrorists” allegedly belonging to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party by a court in Mardin on April 7, 2021. The man of faith denies any wrongdoing and the so-called allegations. He says he is no member of a terrorist organization but merely gave food and water to people knocking on his monastery’s door.

During his visit, U.S. ambassador to Turkey Satterfield met with bishop Samuel and Syriac clergy and teachers and toured churches and monasteries in the region.

The visit to the Mor Gabriel Monastery so soon after the monks’ conviction seems to be a clear signal to Turkish judicial and political authorities.