The parents of a prominent Chaldean Catholic priest remain missing a month after being kidnapped in South-eastern Turkey. Christian couple Hurmuz and Simoni Diril were abducted from their village Meer, Sirnak Province, last month by suspected militants from the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK).
Despite an ongoing investigation into the disappearance, authorities are yet to make any progress on determining their whereabouts. Hurmuz and Simoni are the parents of Father Adday Ramzi Diril who, according to International Christian Concern (ICC), is a well-known Chaldean Catholic priest known for organising the pastoral care of some 7,000 Iraqi Christian refugees living in Turkey.
"Prayers are needed for the Diril family during this challenging time," ICC urged in its report. "The uncertainty of the couple’s fate is quite painful, both to the family and other Christians who benefited from the Diril’s various ministries. Turkey is requested to keep the investigation open, determine the outcome of their fate, and hold the abductors accountable."
The dangers of living as an Assyrian Christian in the southern regions of Turkey have caused many to flee. As such, Father Ramzi is the sole Chaldean Catholic priest left in charge of pastoral work for the entire country.
In a statement, Tuna Çelik, Syriac deputy from the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), suggested that there had been a disconcerting level of secrecy surrounding the investigation: "The fact the prosecutor’s bureau imposes an ordinance of confidentiality on the file raises many questions," he said, according to a report in Kedistan.
"According to the information I received from the district governor, a technical search is underway. (…) If the State cannot find the couple who has disappeared for 24 days in such a zone, that means it is incapable of doing so. I do not believe that Turkey is incapable of this, which means the search is insufficient. I do not think the State is conducting the required searches and salvage operations with all of its instruments.”