Federation of Syriac Associations: “The life and property of Suryoye must be ensured in Turkey”

MIDYAT / MARDIN, Turkey – The Federation of Syriac Associations (SÜDEF) in Turkey is concerned that the murder of Gevriye Sari Beth Komo will lead to another unsolved murder, “Faili meçhul” in Turkish. According to SÜDEF, the latest murder on a Suryoyo (Syriac) is reason for major concern, as the history of unsolved murders on Syriacs in Turkey is long and deplorable. This long history of unsolved and unacknowledged murders of Syriacs in Turkey began in the 20th century with the Sayfo genocide of 1915.

Turkish authorities have a very poor track record in finding and bringing to justice the perpetrators of murders on Syriacs. Intimidation, repression, and fear have led Suryoye to emigrate from their traditional homeland of Tur Abdin. Only 2 thousand remain in what is now a majority Kurdish region. One of them was Gevriye Sari who was murdered on August 8, 2021, with a firearm by unknown person(s) at his home in the village of Beth Debe (Dibek), Tur Abdin. He was buried at the Virgin Mary Church cemetery in his home village yesterday.

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In its statement, the Federation of Syriac Associations in Turkey recalls the kidnapping and murder of the retired couple Şhmuni and Hurmuz Diril in 2020, and the murder of Yusuf Kurt, murdered in the Tur Izlo region (Bagok), which are exemplary for the systematic and planned attacks on Syriacs. Since the 1990s, many local and contra-groups have killed dozens of Syriacs for various purposes. SÜDEF hence urges Turkish authorities to urgently track down the perpetrators of the murder of Gevriye Sarı, as it “increases the fear of adding to the list another unsolved murder.” Adding:

“Many of these murders have gone unsolved. Dozens of Syriac villages were evacuated, and thousands of families were forced to leave their homes and lands because of these murders – the cases of which were not thoroughly investigated, and the perpetrators not brought to justice.”

“There are forces at work trying to prevent our Syriac people from returning to their homes and re-building their historical villages and monasteries.”

SÜDEF ended the statement with condolences to the family and relatives of the murdered Gevriye Sarı, and a call to all Syriacs and the general public to condemn hostile attacks, fulfill their humanitarian duty and take sensitive action in the face of these attacks against the Syriac people in Turkey.

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Originally published in Turkish on 13 August 2021, by Gazete Sabro.