Dogan returns to settle back in her hometown Midyat 35 years later

Dogan returns to settle back in her hometown Midyat 35 years later
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A nun with her own foundation for global charity work and having written several books, Hatune Dogan has restored her family estate and started farming in the village of Zaz.

An Assyrian woman named Hatune Dogan returned to her hometown in Turkey 35 years after she and her family were forced to leave, Voice of America (VOA) Turkish reported.

They were the first Assyrian family who had to abandon their home in the village of Izbirak (Syriac name Zaz) in Mardin's Midyat district "because of strife and the political atmosphere," and the rest of the Assyrian population followed, VOA said.

Dogan's parents sold their possessions within a week and moved first to Istanbul, then to Germany, where Dogan went to school and had education in various fields, including medicine, which she quit. She also attended a monastery and became a nun.

The first time Hatune Dogan came back to visit her village with her sister, she was disillusioned as she found the family house in ruins, their vineyard and garden destroyed. She went back to Germany only to return again in 2017, after which she eventually had a new house built, the vineyard and the fields restored. She consequently settled back in the family estate and started farming.

Dogan, now aged 50, has written several books, including "Es Geht ums Uberleben: Mein Einsatzs für die Christen im Irak" (It's about Survival: My Commitment to the Christians in Iraq") and "Ein Stern Leuchtel in der Nacht" ("A Star Shines in the Night").

She continues with her charity work through her foundation, and she seeks to see her life ending in her village. She only wishes that she dos not have to leave it ever again.

In the village of Zaz, there are churches of Mor Dimet and Mort Shmuni. There is also the ruins of the church of Mor Gabriel. According to sources, Zaz is identified as the settlement of Zazabukha, where the Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II made camp whilst on campaign against Nairi in 879 BC. Arches on the north side of the church of Mor Dimet, constructed by 932, suggest pre-Christian buildings originally stood on the site. A copy of the Syriac diptychs written in the village in the early 16th century was found in 1909, but was lost in the Assyrian Genocide.

The remaining Assyrian population in Turkey is estimated to be about 50,000.

About 250,000 Assyrians were killed in massacres that wiped out most of the communities in Anatolia during the First World War, according to the Assyro-Chaldean delegation at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference.

Photo credit: Mahmut Bozarslan (VOA)