Five suspects arrested for kidnapping Syriac priest

1129-41.jpgMARDİN – TDN with wire dispatches
Five people suspected of involvement in the kidnapping of a Syriac priest from the ancient Syriac Christian community in Midyat, a town in the southeastern province of Mardin, have been arrested, news agencies reported Saturday.

Police are on the lookout for two more suspects. Three suspects were arrested in another southeastern province, Batman, while two of them were arrested in Midyat. Priest Daniel Edip Savcı could not identify the suspects definitively, the Doğan news agency reported. The police are working in cooperation with gendarmerie forces on the kidnap, said Batman Police Chief Arif Öksüz. The priest was set free Friday in Batman, two days after his car had been found abandoned near Midyat, and returned to his village Saturday. The kidnappers had demanded 300,000 euros in ransom, a local clergyman had told the police.

Service to give thanks

Syriacs in the region gathered for a service to give thanks yesterday in Mor Yakup monastery, which was conducted by Savcı and Deyrulumur Monastery Metropolitan Samuel Aktaş. “I forgive those who kidnapped me. I want everyone to forgive them too,” said Savcı. The kidnappers did not think that the event would become important like that and they realized the importance of the kidnap after the event was reported in the media, he said.

The kidnappers hit him in the face as he resisted them, and said they had kidnapped him for money since they were poor, Savcı said in his testimony, responding to the reason behind his kidnapping, after he was released.

Never felt alone

Everyone in this country lives in harmony regardless of their religion, said AktaÅŸ in his speech in Syriac after Savcı’s return to his village Saturday. “We live in fraternity with the benefactions of democracy. We have never felt alone in this country, we lived and will live under the same flag,” AktaÅŸ said. Meanwhile Mardin Deyrulzafaran Monestary Metropolitan Saliba Özmen said they are grateful to all state officials. “Turkey is a very strong country with its state and nation, it is not like Iraq,” Özmen said.