70-year-old Kurdish man goes missing in Turkey after emotional return from 45-year exile

70-year-old Kurdish man goes missing in Turkey after emotional return from 45-year exile
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After 45 years in exile, 70-year-old Mehmet Durmaz has gone missing in Diyarbakir since his return, triggering an urgent community-wide search amidst concerns for his psychological well-being.

A 70-year-old man who had recently returned from a 45-year exile in France, has been reported missing for the last ten days, his family said on Friday.

Loved ones and acquaintances of Mehmet Durmaz are desperately appealing to the public for information on his whereabouts, fearing for the worst due to his fragile psychological state.

Durmaz, a distinguished figure who was forced into exile owing to a book he authored before the military coup of 1980 in Turkey, had only returned home about a month ago. As an individual who had faced significant trials throughout his life, Durmaz had been battling memory issues and showing signs of psychological distress since his return. Adding to the distress is the fact that he had discarded his phone, making the task of locating him even more challenging.

Nuri Sinir, a close childhood and adolescent friend of Durmaz, expressed deep concern during an interview with Arti Gercek.

"Mehmet Durmaz is my childhood and youth friend. He went into exile in '79. He has memory issues and seems to have psychologically deteriorated since returning here. He even threw away his phone. The police and the consulate are involved in finding him. A couple of days ago, he was reportedly seen in the vicinity of Kosuyolu Park. We are requesting anyone who sees him to inform us," he said.

Echoing Sinir's concerns, Durmaz's cousin Didem Aydemir, took to social media to emphasize the seriousness of the situation.

"My cousin Mehmet Durmaz returned to Piran (Dicle), Diyarbakir about a month ago for the first time in over 45 years after living in exile in France. However, the heavy psychological toll he endured over the years seems to have overwhelmed him upon his return, leading to a psychological break and disappearance. We are deeply worried about his fate. He doesn't speak much Turkish, but communicates in French, Zazaki, or Kirmanjki," she said.