Diyarbakir (Agenzia Fides) - A Syrian Orthodox church in Diyarbakir, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was damaged during the Turkish military offensive against the positions of the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK). The damage was caused by the bombing carried out by the Turkish army. This was reported by Fr. Yusuf Akbulut, the pastor of the church, who continues to send alarming messages from his home, where he barricaded himself with the family while fighting continues in the area.
In 2000 Fr. Akbulut was arrested by the Turkish authorities for his statements on the so-called "Assyrian genocide" perpetrated in Anatolia during the time of the First World War.
The criminal case against the priest had aroused international attention, and the Turkish State had decided to reverse the decision, entrusting the security court in Diyarbakyr proceed towards Akbulut’s acquittal. The following year the interior Turkish ministry had issued a decree providing highly restrictive provisions with respect to all Assyrians and Syriacs from Europe who wanted to visit their places of origin in the southern regions of the Country. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 29/01/2016)