We will not abandon our village


The only Chaldean in Silopi: “We will not abandon our village”

ANF ŞIRNAK Thursday, 1 Feb 2018, 01:10
https://anfenglish.com

The only Chaldean in Silopi Petrus Karatay who was arrested for 11 days: They burned our village and our cemetery down several times. We won’t abandon our village to anybody. Whatever the circumstances, we will continue with our rightful struggle

The only Chaldean citizen in the Aksu (Herbol) village in Şırnak’s Silopi district Petrus Karatay had been arrested on January 11 and released 11 days later on his lawyers’ appeals. Karatay had had to move away after the pressure they faced in the ‘80s and returned to the village by early 2009. He was arrested for his social media posts and on secret witness accounts

“WHEN WE RETURNED THE VILLAGE HAD BEEN EXPROPRIATED”

After he was released, Karatay returned to his life in the Aksu village which he spent years rebuilding. Karatay spoke about the pressures they have been facing in recent years

Karatay said they heeded the return calls after many years and decided to return to Silopi along with 27 families. Karatay said they were received well by the authorities they met with after they returned

“IF WE DIDN’T RETURN THEY WOULD DIVIDE UP OUR LANDS”

Karatay said after a while, rumors were spread about them and they increased in time, and said the following on the issues they had at first: “Some people had come and taken our water away. They had put up tents and patios in our village. If we didn’t return, some people from neighboring villages would have divided up our lands among them. They call us ‘infidels’. They slandered us and said we were ‘aiding and abetting the organization’

“MOST OF THE SLANDERERS ARE VILLAGE GUARDS”

Karatay said he was targeted by the governorate because he was elected the head of the village and he worked on construction effort, and that they were being slandered in order to make them move away again and to confiscate their lands. Karatay said he submitted appeals to the governorate, district governorate and the outpost: “They thought they would have the lands if we were driven away. These are people who want to look cute for the state and who seek their interests. They were mostly village guards. And they had convinced some high ranking soldiers to this. There are some who are buddies with the military

“THOSE WHO THREATENED ME ARE IN PRISON NOW”

Karatay said the same thing happened in all Syriac and Assyrian villages and that different faiths are seen as “easy targets”. Karatay stressed that the calls made by the state officials in Ankara and the demands didn’t connect in the local level and continued: “They are trying to tie us to terrorism. Are we to come all the way from Europe to deal with this? The major who threatened me is now arrested for FETÖ membership. They don’t care about us. They don’t take our issues into account even though we tell them. We don’t see the practical application of what is being said to us

ARRESTED ON SECRET WITNESS

Karatay said he had been detained 3 times to date and pointed out the secret witness accounts that were used as an excuse for his most recent arrest. Karatay said the only correct information in the secret witness accounts was his name, and said the following on the contradictions in the statements: “Not one word of it was true. The car he said I drive, the house I live in, even which European country I came from, he said all the wrong things. These false pieces of information are on the record

“WE WILL NOT ABANDON OUR VILLAGE TO ANYBODY”

Karatay pointed out the current political climate and said: “If it wasn’t for this, many people would have returned.” Karatay stressed that they want to keep their culture, faith and arts alive within the bounds of the opportunities provided by law and concluded with: “They burned our village and our cemetery down countless times. We will not abandon our village to anybody. We are not doing any harm, on the contrary, we are doing good. This is our land. Whatever the circumstances may be, we will continue with our rightful struggle. The pressure can only delay us

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