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05/25/2020 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – An elderly Christian man living in a remote Turkish village has been missing for 134 days. Hurmuz and Simoni Diril were kidnapped on January 11th by PKK members. Although the body of Simoni was later discovered in March, exactly what befell the couple after the kidnapping and the fate of Hurmuz remain unknown.

The couple had recently returned to their village in Mehr, located in Turkey’s northeast corner near the border with Iraq. The village was historically Christian but had emptied because of persecution, which included targeted kidnappings and disappearances. They had returned hoping to rebuild the Christian presence and set an example for the return of other believers. The couple are Assyrian Christians and their son is a priest based in Istanbul.

Their kidnapping has greatly shaken the Assyrian Christian community. It has reduced confidence in the possibility of returning to evacuated homes, and also reduced confidence in the protection of authorities. Many have blamed the government for failing to fully investigate the disappearance and hold those responsible accountable.

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