TURKEY: Removed Syriac mayor of Arkah village in Tur Abdin will appear in court on 29 April

MERDO / TUR ABDIN, southeast Turkey — Yusef Yar, a member of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the duly elected mayor of Arkah village in Tur Abdin in southeast Turkey who was controversially removed from office by Turkish authorities last year, stated in a recent interview that a court hearing on the charges against him will be held in Merdo (Mardin) on 29 April.

“I hoped that the alleged charges would be dropped from my file, because they are not true,” said Yar, stressing that as mayor he never stepped beyond the boundaries of his office.

Yar was arrested in January 2020 at the same time monk Sefer (Aho) Bileçen of the Mor Yahqup d-Qarno Monastery. Monk Aho was recently sentenced by a Turkish court to two years and one month in prison on the dubious charges of “supporting a terrorist organization” for providing two strangers with food and water.

After several days in police custody, Yar was released. However, upon his release, his mayoral seal was confiscated and Afram Dik (AKP) was temporarily appointed as mayor.

Yar, accompanied by his lawyer, will go to the upcoming court hearing. He hopes that the court will drop the false charges and reinstate him as mayor of the village.