Turkey's Assyrian community calls for justice
The Assyrian community is in mourning following the death of 92-year-old Gevriye Akguc, who was brutally attacked in an armed assault by unidentified assailants on November 6 in the rural neighborhood of Enhil, within the Midyat district of Mardin. After undergoing autopsy procedures, Akguc's body was transported to Istanbul for burial yesterday while the investigation into his murder continues.
In connection with the tragic event, Turkish authorities have detained 15 individuals. Among those arrested and later released after giving statements were local village guards and members of the Assyrian community. Surprisingly, Akguc's wife was also interrogated as a suspect. Investigators are considering the possibility that a land dispute may have motivated the killing, and they plan to examine the HTS (signal intelligence) records of those whose statements were taken.
Evgil Turker, President of the Federation of Assyrian Associations, spoke out about the incident, recalling the violence that plagued the village of Enhil in the 1990s, including the murder of children. He expressed that the current situation has rekindled traumatic memories for the Assyrians and emphasized that the community had faced numerous attacks over the years due to conflicts over land and their ethnic and religious identity.
Turker emphasized, "We have experienced many unresolved crimes against Assyrians. We do not want this case to join the list of unsolved incidents. The Assyrian community should not have to live in fear of repeating past horrors. Our immediate demand is for the swift resolution of this murder. We urge the authorities to bring clarity to this case and dispel the doubts of the Assyrian people."
Highlighting the challenges faced by the Assyrian people who had been displaced but have been attempting to return and rebuild their lives for the past two decades, Turker noted that such incidents have a deterring effect on their resettlement. He lamented that Assyrians returning to their ancestral lands often face the prospect of re-migration due to unresolved conflicts.
Turker concluded with a call for transparency: "The Assyrian people are determined to reside on their lands despite the hardships. The murder of Gevriye Akguc cannot be dismissed as a simple or personal attack. We demand a thorough and transparent investigation to ensure justice is served."