Assyrian Monastery Saved From Kurdish Vandal

The ancient Assyrian Deir Haddadke Monastery in Midyat, Turkey.

The ancient Assyrian Deir Haddadke Monastery in Midyat, Turkey.

The illegal wall built by a Kurd.

The illegal wall built by a Kurd.

1/11/2014

Turabdin, Turkey (AINA) – An ancient Assyrian monastery dating back to early days of Christianity has been saved from destruction in Turkey’s south eastern region. The monastery is known as Deir Haddadke or Saint Aho and is situated a few miles outside the town of Midyat. It is believed to date back to pre-Christian times, like many of the of Assyrian monasteries and churches found in the region.

The threat to the monastery began in early 2014 when a Kurdish man began digging and erecting structures on the site. His activities included taking large stones from the monastery building itself to use for a new structure, digging for antiquities and erecting a wall around the entire site.

Turkish authorities were notified and have acted to stop the destruction of an Assyrian cultural heritage site. The Assyrian Federation of Sweden sounded the alarm and pressured the ministry of culture and tourism in Ankara to take action. The ministry ordered the governor in Midyat to stop the encroachment and return the site to its original state.

The threat to Assyrian cultural heritage in Turkey is a serious problem. The remaining small Assyrian community in the area is often reluctant to speak up because of fear. The individuals threatening Assyrian sites are often members of large Kurdish clans whom local authorities hesitate to confront.

© 2014 Assyrian International News Agency.

Source: