Bomb attack on a Aramean priest in Tur Abdin
June 6, 2005 a bomb attack was carried out in Tur Abdin, south-eastern of Turkey, on a Syrian orthodox priest Ibrahim Gok (Photo left) who was in Tur Abdin. Gok is the priest of the Mary Church in Gutersloh, Germany. In the car of Gok there were two other Arameans, the mayor of Arkah (Harabele) and a Aramean from Germany. Gok, a regular visitor of Tur Abdin, was in Tur Abdin to explore the possible return of number of Aramean families from Germany to Tur Abdin. The ,,missions" of Gok to Tur Abdin are controversial, since to the view of many, he would give a wrong signal to Turkey to talk about the return to Tur Abdin, while from Turkish side no security guarantees are given. Furthermore, the Arameans in Turkey are not recognised as a distinct ethnic minority. For this reason, the ,,missions" of priest Gok are by the majority of the Arameans rather considered as a personal initiative which are not in the interest of our people.
Where many Aramean were afraid of become unfortunately truth on 6th of June 2005. Priest Gok left together with the major of Arkah (Harabale) and a Aramean from Germany the village and were on there way to other village. On a distance of approximately 3 km from Arkah, a bomb exploded which missed their car on a distance of 10 meter. Because of the strength of the explosion, all the car windows were broken in pieces. Fortunately, there were no injuries.
Who possibly could be responsible for this attack is not known. Undoubtedly, Turkey shall try to accuse Kurdish groups of this bomb attacks. This is however, unlikely, because of the following reason:
In the village of Arkah (Harabale), situated southern of Midyat, there is a permanent Army base of the Turkish Army. The bomb exploded at a distance of 1,5 km from the Army base. To put a bomb on the road, you need some preparations and this cannot be done unnoticed in the neighbourhood of army base.
That is why one presumes that the bomb attack is probably the work of (Islamic) village defenders (shortened: MIT; kind of security police); who unhampered can go everywhere where they want.
These security people/village defenders are Kurds who are recruited by the Turks to combat the Kurdish terror groups active in the region since 1984.
Because of the reasons mentioned (security reasons, not recognizing Aramean people by Turkey); the majority of our people rejects the ,,missions" of priest Gok to Turkey. There is however something more severe where the people is concerned about and that is: since the ,,mission" activities of priest Gok to Tur Abdin; the residence permit and the passports of Arameans in Germany are not renewed any more. The reason for this is that the German government says,, your leaders (read: priest Gok) want to return to Turkey and therefore there is no reason for you any more to stay in Germany". The Arameans are not really helped with this kind of decisions; because the so-called ,, their leaders" wants to return back to Turkey. These so-called leaders definitely do not act on behalf of our people neither do they serve their interests.
In any case, priest Gok did not make himself popular with the Islamic Turks by his trips to Tur Abdin. In Germany probably he should not count on the support of the Aramean majority as well.
A lesson for Gok and others: try to be less eager with your trips to Tur Abdin and try to understand the interests of your people.
Turkey and EU....
In October, the accession talks with Turkey will start about their membership of EU. It is of course in the interest of Turkey to make a good impression to the outside world and such bomb attack certainly do not adorn Turkey. Turkey is a big country with different ethnicities and (Islamic) religious groups who all have their own perception and idea about how Turkey should be in the 21st century.
Various Islamic groups definitely don't want Turkey to join the European Union. The Turkish elite in their turn wish eagerly to join EU. It is for these reason very difficult to find a balance between in one respect the requirements of EU membership and on the other side to maintain the stability of the nation as whole!