TUR ABDIN: Syriac Union Association and Syriac Women’s Association presidents detained by Turkish police

MIDYAT / TUR ABDIN, Turkey – On Sunday, Mezopotamya News Agency reported the detention of the head of the Syriac Union Association (SÜRKADİM) Yuhanna Aktaş and Syriac Women’s Association president Teodora Özdemir Beth Hobel. They were taken to Mardin police station for questioning.

The two were detained during a major police operation carried out in several cities in Turkey’s southeast in what appears to be the latest in the ongoing crackdown on the People’s Democratic Party (HDP).

Turkish police have detained several activists and HDP officials during house searches in Kozluk (Batman), Derik (Mardin), Savur and Midyat. In the district of Mardin six people were detained, among them the two politically active and outspoken Syriacs. HDP District Co-chair Selma Özcan was detained in a house raid in Derik. SyriacPress will report more information as we have it.

In the southeastern region of Turkey, about 2,000 Syriacs live on a population of millions. Of these 2,000 Syriacs Gavriye Sari was murdered in Beth Debe on August 8, 2021.

In January 2020, the mayor of the Syriac village of Arkah Yusuf Yar was arrested following a raid by the Turkish Gendarmerie. On the same day, Turkish soldiers raided the Syriac Orthodox monastery of St Jacob and arrested Syriac Orthodox monk Sefer “Aho” Bilecen and in the Syriac village of Sederi Musa Taştekin was arrested.

Also in January 2020, the retired Syriac Chaldean couple Shmuni and Hurmuz Diril disappeared under mysterious circumstances from their home village of Mehre. Shmuni Diril’s mutilated body was found near their village on March 20, 2020. The is no information about the fate of uncle Hurmuz.

In April 2021, monk Aho was sentenced by a Turkish court to 25 months in prison for “aiding” a terrorist organization.

Also, in June, three members of the Syriac Military Council (MFS) taken prisoner in North and East Syria by the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army were illegally sentenced to life in prison in Turkey.

And this happened in just the last 1,5 years…

For the news in Turkish see: Batman ve Mardin’de 6 kişi gözaltına alındı by @gazetesabro