Hurriyet Daily News — 8/10/2013
Syrian refugee Elida and Mardin local Engin Bayruğ recently get married
in a ceremony held at the historical Deyrulzafaran Monastery in Mardin.
Young Syriac refugees, who take shelter at the monastries in eastern province of Mardin after fleeing from civil war in Syria, meet local Syriac peers and sometimes get married. Deyrülzafaran Monastery, first Syriac foundation in Turkey, welcomes the Syriac refugees and hosts such marriages.
Syriac young men and women who recently escaped from the civil war-hit Syria are walking down the aisle in Turkey’s southeastern province of Mardin.
Nearly 150 Syriac families have not settled in Turkey’s special camps for Syrian refugees due to their safety concerns and are taking shelter in monasteries in Mardin. However this humanitarian crisis situation is also bringing happiness for some of the young people who meet at the monasteries. They are falling in love and pairing up.
The Hürriyet Daily News attended the marriage ceremony of Syrian refugee Elida and Mardin local Engin Bayruğ Aug. 7 in Mardin’s Midyat district.
The antique Deyrulzafaran Monastery hosted the marriage ceremony, a first in its recent history. Syriac wine and food were served to the accompaniment of Arabic, Turkish and English songs but Syriac which was listed one of UNESCO’s endangered languages list, was not used since most of the population could not speak their ancestral tongue.
The young couple’s relative Ferit Özaltun said there were some 80 local Syriac families living in Mardin and the number of families that fled from Syria was 150. Özaltun said young people were meeting in the monasteries and some of them ended up getting married after a while.
“At least we find solace in the happiness of our youngsters; new families are being built, and this makes us happy,” Özaltun told the Daily News.
Özaltun said even though both sides were Syriac, cultural differences might surface from time to time. “A young woman from Syria and a young man from Turkey, even though both are Syriac, have cultural, political and educational differences,” he said.
Deyrülzafaran Monastery is the first Syriac foundation in Turkey to welcome the Syriac refugees, who have been avoiding refugee camps over security concerns. The Syriac community is asking for a separate camp to be established for them as they do not want to settle in the existing camps along the border.
An attempt to build a special camp for Christians who have fled from Syria to Turkey failed after a series of meetings in Ankara over the last months. The issue has been shelved for now.
Syriac families who are suffering from economic difficulties have taken refuge in Mardin, the place their ancestors were forced to leave because of political pressure. Now they wait for the end of civil war in Syria to return to their homes.
Families that can afford it are leaving Turkey for third countries.