YEREVAN (Armenpress)–A Syriac Christian priest was kidnapped Wednesday in southeast Turkey and police have launched an operation to secure his release, news reports said.
Turkish security officials said the priest, 55-year-old Daniel Savci, was from the Mor Yakup monastery near the town of Midyat.
An official at the monastery said an unknown person had called the monastery and said they sought a ransom for the priest’s release.
CNN Turk said the assailants had ambushed the priest in his car as he traveled to the Mor Yakup church.
Most of Turkey’s 75 million people are Muslim and it has barely 100,000 Christians, mostly of Greek and Armenian origin. The community has been the target of attacks in the last two years.
There are estimated to be only a few thousand Assyrian Christians still living in eastern Turkey. Years of emigration and continued fighting between Turkish troops and the PKK have caused most of Turkey’s Assyrian population to leave in search of security.
Three Christians, two Turks and a German, had their throats slit by youths who burst into their Bible publishing house in the southeastern town of Malatya in April.
Turkish Armenian writer Hrant Dink was murdered in Istanbul in January by a young nationalist gunman and an Italian Catholic priest was killed in his church by a youth in Trabzon in 2006.