ASIA/TURKEY - Syriac priest’s missing mother found dead in SE Turkey after 70 days

Monday, 23 March 2020 middle east   oriental churches   kidnappings   refugees  

Œuvre d'Orient

Istanbul (Agenzia Fides) - The body of Şimoni Diril, the mother of Remzi Diril, a Catholic Chaldean priest in İstanbul, was discovered in a stream close to the village of Kovankaya, seventy days after the kidnapping perpetrated by strangers against the elderly woman and her husband Hormuz, who has still not been found.
The elderly Christian married couple had been kidnapped on 11 January in their village of Kovankaya, in the southeastern Turkish province of Şirnak.
The disappearance of the elderly Chaldean married couple had raised concern in local Christian communities, at present largely represented by refugees who fled Iraq and Syria. Now, among the Christians in the region, everyone shares the sad omen that her husband Hormuz also shared the tragic fate of his bride.
The couple's son is the Chaldean priest, Remzi Diril, also known as Father Adday, currently residing in Istanbul and responsible for the pastoral care of the thousands of Chaldean Christian refugees in Turkey and waiting to obtain a visa to emigrate to European countries, of the Americas or Oceania.
According to some witnesses, a group of unidentified men had kidnapped Hormuz and Şimoni from their village, whom some currently unrecognized journalistic allegations wanted to identify with militants of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Father Adday, who went to Kovankaya the next day to visit his parents, had found their house empty.
In the following days, Gendarmerie special forces, crime scene investigators, sniffer dog units, unmanned aerial vehicle operators and volunteers have been carrying out the search operation for Hurmuz and Şimuni Diril around Mount Kato.
The village of Kovankaya, historically inhabited by Assyrian and Chaldean Christians, had been set on fire and forcibly evacuated in 1994, during the conflict between the Turkish army and PKK militiamen. When the village was evacuated during anti-terror operations in 1994, the couple moved to Istanbul. The evacuation order was removed in 2010. In 2015, the elderly couple wanted to return to their home village on a permanent basis, despite the fact that many other Christian families evacuated from Kovankaya had instead chosen not to return to their homes. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 23/3/2020)