Syriac-Orthodox community in confusion after arrests
“These arrests have left the 3,000 remaining Christians of the Syriac-Orthodox faith and the Assyrian-Syriac ethnicity in a state of fear and confusion.”
On January 9, 2020, Turkey’s anti-terror branch arrested three Syriac Christians in a raid and transferred them to the city of Mardin, where they remain unreachable with no access to a lawyer, International Christian Concern reports.
The exact nature of their official charges is not yet known. The names of the affected Christians are: Father Sefer (Aho) Bileçen from the Monastery of Mar Yaqoub al-Suruji, Musa Tash Takin from the village of Sidri, and Youssef Yar from the village of Üçköy.
In a statement issued by the Assyrian Monitor for Human Rights the organization ensured their “full solidarity with the three Christian detainees”.
“We hold the authorities fully legal responsibility for their physical integrity, and we demand that they release them immediately and without any delay”.
On January 9, A Demand for Action wrote, that the authorities arrested Father Aho Bilecen, a well known monk at the monastery, Dayro d’ Mor Yakoub d’ Qarnao, and two lay people, Josef Yar and Musa Tastekin. Several sources in Turabdin that A Demand for Action ( ADFA) spoke to, confirmed these arrests. Nobody yet knows the reason for them. According to one official, Father Aho Bilecen and the two others have no lawyers to defend them yet, and nobody else was able to reach them.
“These arrests have left the 3000 remaining Christians of the Syriac-Orthodox faith and Assyrian-Syriac ethnicity in a state of fear and confusion”.
According to AMFHR, tt is believed that the accusation was linked to cooperation with the PKK.
This organization is of top priority for Turkish anti-terrorist efforts and has significant presence in the southeastern regions of the country.