92-year-old Assyrian man murdered in Turkey

Gevriye Akgüç assyrian

92-year-old Gevriye Akgüç lost his life after an armed attack in the courtyard of his house in the Assyrian village of Yemişli in Mardin's Midyat district, southeast Turkey. Eleven people were detained regarding the incident.

Gevriye Akgüç

The village of Yemişli, or Enhil as it is known in the Syriac language, one of the oldest settlements in the region, came to the fore with a murder committed on Tuesday.

Akgüç, who returned ten years ago to the village where seven villagers fell victim to unsolved murders in the 1990s, lost his life as a result of an armed attack by an unidentified person or persons in front of his house.

While an investigation was launched into the incident, it was learned that Akgüç lived in Europe, settled in Istanbul a while ago and arrived back in the district to see his relatives.

Gevriye Akgüç

George Aslan, Mardin Deputy of the People's Equality and Democracy Party (HEDEP) stated that Akgüç's murder was not arbitrary or an accident.

“The murder of Uncle Gevriye is a great mourning for every Assyrian, especially for our people living in Turabdin. His killing is not arbitrary or an accident. It is a conscious murder," he said.

On the other hand, the proceedings of the three suspects detained by the District Gendarmerie Command teams within the scope of the investigation initiated by the Midyat Chief Prosecutor's Office regarding the armed attack were completed.

The suspects were referred to the courthouse.

The President of the Human Rights Association (IHD) Mardin Branch, Veysi Parıltı, stated that Akgüç was shot and killed on November 6th around 11:00 PM while returning from his neighbour's house. Parıltı stated that 11 individuals were in custody in connection with the incident, and authorities expressed their commitment to swiftly solving the case.

One of those detained is the son of a village guard. Yuhanna Aktaş, an IHD member residing in Midyat, explained that Gavriye Akgüç and his husband, who have been living in Istanbul for the last 10 years, had been spending more time in the village for the past 1.5 years.

Aktaş raised the possibility that Akgüç might have been killed due to disputes over land that had been used by others for many years, especially after the Syriacs began asserting their ownership following a land registration in 2006, which led to some tensions and conflicts.

According to the IHD member, Akgüç had told his neighbours that there had been a dispute over land with someone from the same village, remarking, "What could anyone want from a 91-year-old?"

He also mentioned that the son of a village guard was among those detained.

The intimidation and forced migration of minorities and the seizure of their property are not new events, Between 1990 and 2000, 52 Assyrians in Midyat alone had been murdered with their killers remaining unidentified.

Aktaş underlined that Gavriye Akgüç and his husband were the last generation that wanted to live in their village, as their children were already living abroad and had no connection to the village. He expressed their focus on the possibility that Akgüç might have been killed to ensure the land could be used freely.

After the autopsy, Gavriye Akgüç's body was kept in the church morgue and then he would be laid to rest in the family cemetery in Istanbul.

"They want to drive Syriacs away"

Providing information about the incident to Bianet, George Aslan, the Syriac Member of Parliament for the People's Equality and Democracy Party (HEDEP), stated that Syriac citizens asserting their land rights and establishing successful businesses had caused discomfort among some segments in the region.

He said, "Of course, we do not accuse the entire region, but there are efforts to frighten, intimidate, and drive away the Syriacs. A few days ago, a Syriac citizen in Iwardo (Gülgöze) village was also beaten by village guards."

Aslan had also drawn attention to the killing of Gavriye Akgüç in the parliament.

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