Peoples’ Democratic Party Co-Chair in Midyat Barbara Akay: Turkish infringements prevent Syriac people from visiting their homeland in Turkey

MIDYAT, Turkey — In recent comments, Syriac activist and Co-Chair of the People’s Democratic Party (Halkların Demokratik Partisi, HDP) in Midyat Barbara Akay stated that the Turkish government prevents the Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) people from visiting their homeland in Turkey, especially after the abduction and murder of the Syriac—Chaldean Diril family.

Jin News Agency shed light on the case of the Diril family and the opinion of Barbara Akay.

Retired Syriac-Chaldean couple, Hurmuz and Shmuni Diril, disappeared on 7 January 2020 from their village in Mahre, Tur Abdin, Turkey. Shmuni Diril was found murdered nearby the village in March 2020, her body having previously been covered in snow. Hurmuz Diril has not been heard from or seen since the disappearance.

Jin News criticized Turkish authorities for their handling of the case. After two years of pressure from the Diril family, Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) organizations, politicians, an indictment was finally issued for primary suspect and relative Apro Diril. Apro had been arrested and released multiple times over the last year and reportedly made several threats against the couple, going so far as to shoot at their house with a hunting rifle.

“Through the Diril case, the Turkish authorities seek to intimidate the Syriac people and prevent them from visiting or returning to their homeland in Turkey,” said Akay, adding that the Syriac people must confront any intimidation and return to their homeland to achieve the dreams of the Diril family and the deceased Shmuni Diril.

“Unfortunately, there is no justice in Turkey,” said Akay. “Abuses, encroachments, and killings of women are committed without holding the criminals accountable.”

“The Syriac people have faced many difficulties in their homeland,” she continued. “This made some Syriac people adhere to their land, while others have taken steps to return to their homeland, which is a glimmer of hope.”

Addressing the Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) people, Akay said, “The pain of the Diril family is our pain. We must demand justice for the agonized family by arresting the criminals responsible.”

She implored the Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) people to return to their villages in Turkey and called on the international community to support the Diril family and find the kidnapped Hormuz.