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WikiLeaks: 2004-09-27: 04ADANA127: Jandarma Evicts Village Guards from Syriac Village of Sarikoy

Posted: Thursday, October 27, 2011 at 03:18 PM CT


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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
04ADANA127 2004-09-27 13:35 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Consulate Adana
This record is a partial extract of the original cable.
The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A 
REF: ADANA 00105 
1.  (SBU) Summary:  A Syriac Orthodox Church representative told 
poloff that on September 12, security forces evicted the Kurdish 
village guards that had been living in the village of Sarikoy in 
Sirnak Province (reftel).  Members of the Syriac community who 
had resided in Sarikoy prior to 1994, and who had recently 
returned from Europe in order to resettle in there, will consult 
with Sirnak government officials on security and other matters 
before returning to the now emptied village.  The Sirnak 
Governor's interest in this case, and ultimately strong action 
by his office in concert with security forces, represents the 
most affirmative official government response in favor of the 
Syriac community in the Southeast to date.  End summary. 
2.  (SBU) In reftel, post reported on Sarikoy, a village in 
Sirnak province that had been inhabited by members of the Syriac 
Christian community until 1994, when they left, fleeing violence 
in the region.  Twenty Kurdish village guards assigned to work 
in the region subsequently inhabited the village, along with 
family members.  When Syriac community members returned from 
Europe this year to find their resettlement in Sarikoy blocked 
by the presence of the village guards, they addressed their 
claims to the Governor of Sirnak.  Five representatives of the 
community have been staying at the Syriac Orthodox Church's 
Dayrul Umur Monastary in Midyat while pursuing what observers 
had initially hoped would be an amicable agreement allowing them 
to return to their village. 
3.  (SBU) In a September 1 meeting at the monastery, 
representatives of the Church told poloff that the Sirnak 
Governor had that very day cut electricity services to Sarikoy 
in an effort to dissuade the village's current occupants from 
staying there.  Church representatives also told us that in the 
week leading up to this development, they had received a visit 
from an Anatolian Agency wire service reporter who had visited 
the Governor's office a short time earlier.  The reporter said 
that the Governor's desk had been covered with documents related 
to Sarikoy and that the Governor spoke of the importance he 
placed on resolving the case. 
4.  (SBU)  In a September 16 phone conversation, a Syriac church 
official based at the Monastery in Midyat confirmed press 
reports that the Jandarma had "evacuated" the village guards 
from the village on September 12, thus paving the way for the 
Syriac community's return.  The Jandarma were very clever, he 
said, in the way they launched their "operation."  He stated 
that approximately three weeks earlier, the Jandarma had given 
notice to Sarikoy's current residents of its intent to evict 
them, including the date the eviction would be carried out. 
When the Jandarma discovered that the guards had gathered media 
representatives to observe the process, they abandoned the date, 
and planned the September 12 operation.  According to our 
contact in Midyat, the Jandarma called the guards from Sarikoy 
to the Jandarma post around 8:30 pm on September 12, informed 
them that Jandarma officers were needed at an operation 
elsewhere in the region, and asked the guards to occupy the post 
while they were gone.  When the guards were inside the post, 
Jandarma allegedly disarmed them, and prevented their return to 
Sarikoy.  The Jandarma were reportedly planning to empty Sarikoy 
houses of the guards' possessions September 18-19. 
5.  (SBU)  For the moment the representatives of the Syriac 
community have stayed put at the Monastery, as they are 
concerned about security in the village.  They will communicate 
with the Governor and Deputy Governor of Sirnak as they 
contemplate their return. 
6.  (SBU)  Comment:  Sarikoy is not the only place where the 
presence of Kurdish village guards has proved an obstacle to 
returns for displaced persons.  Lawyers at the Diyarbakir Bar 
Association told poloff they had been following this case, and 
like the Syriac community members, were somewhat surprised about 
the attention it was receiving from government officials.  Other 
village returns (to majority Kurdish villages, for example) will 
be considerably more politically charged, and we should not 
expect the Jandarma action in Sarikoy to be a precedent.  It is 
noteworthy, however, as the village return issue comes under 
increasing scrutiny by the European Union.  End comment. 


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