TURKEY: IDC calls for release of Syriac monk
In Defence of Christians (13.01.2020) – http://bit.ly/2U5wWuG – Turkey has arrested Syriac Orthodox monk, Father Aho, on fraudulent charges of treason.
On Thursday evening, January 9, Turkish anti-terror security forces raided Saint Yakoub d’Qarno, a Syriac Orthodox Monastery, in Turabdin, Southeastern Turkey. They searched the monastery and arrested the caretaker, Father Aho Bilicen, charging him with the unsubstantiated claim that he provided bread and water to a member of the PKK Kurdish party. The PKK has a known history of extorting local populations of basic necessities wherever they operate.
Yakoub d’Quarno monastery had been closed for over twenty years due to the incessant conflict between Turkish security forces and Kurdish PKK fighters in the region. Due to the self-sacrificial work of Father Aho, the monastery was able to open again in 2013 and is reported to have served tens of thousands of visitors since its reopening.
IDC calls on the Turkish government to immediately release Father Aho.
IDC President Toufic Baaklini has said, “IDC will relentlessly raise the case of Father Aho’s unjust imprisonment to the highest levels of the Trump administration and will recommend that failure to release him should trigger sanctions similar to those used in the case of Pastor Andrew Brunson.”
On 13 January, Lord Alton (UK Parliament) asked a written phrased as follows:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Turkey about the reported arrest of Father Aho Bilicen a Syriac-Orthodox monk, at Mor Yakoub church in Turkey on 9 January.
The answer of Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 27 January was:
Our Embassy has so far deliberately not raised his case with the Turks and indeed may not do so due to the nature of the charges against the priest which revolve around alleged support to the terrorist group the PKK.
For more information, see http://bit.ly/38I11of