In 1915, a Kurd called Usef-e Khacho beheaded the Assyrian priest Yusuf Bahho in the village of M’are close to the ancient monastery of Mor Augin in Turabdin. He washed hands and face in the blood of the priest because he believed that it would give him a place in paradise. In any case it was a win-win situation both in this life and in the next, from the killer’s perspective. After the Assyrians were decimated during the genocide of Seyfo, the Kurdish butchers occupied Assyrian property and valuable agricultural land.
Usef-e Khacho’s grandsons occupie today more than 11,000 square meter of fertile farmland belonging to Mor Augin. They are local leaders of the Kurdish party HDP but refuse to obey orders of their superiors in the party to return the property to the monastery. The party’s highest leadership and even the PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan have been well-informed about the land confiscations through countless meetings and talks with Iskender Gabrielsson and other representatives of the Association Mor Augin – but to date, to no avail. Iskender Gabrielsson believes that the party leadership does not dare to put its promises into action, as several of the leaders themselves are sitting on Assyrian or Armenian property. When Iskender Gabrielsson asks why they do not order their party members to return the land, he gets the answer that there is a risk that these families could change party and become members of the ruling AKP – an explanation that Iskender Gabrielsson does not accept.
In the days a court jury is also trying to investigate the matter on the ground, but about 11,000 square meters have already been registered on local Kurdish clans in Gremira. About 9,000 square meters have previously been registered to the treasury. That part could be easier to regain if the court finds that the land belongs to the monastery, says the legal representative responsible for the case, according to Iskender Gabrielsson.