BY DAILY SABAH WITH DHA
ANKARA SEP 07, 2022 – 9:58 PM GMT+3
Hatune Doğan, 52, a Syriac Turkish nun who immigrated from southeastern Türkiye’s Midyat district of Mardin in 1985 with her family and settled in Germany, has written 22 books and speaks 14 languages. She is now engaged in agriculture in her hometown, which she returned to last year.
Doğan, who lives in the rural Izbırak district of Midyat, immigrated to Germany with her family when she was 15 years old. After graduating from the Mainz Catholic University of Applied Sciences, Doğan traveled to more than 40 countries with her many charity activities. Helping the poor, sick, homeless, students and orphans, Doğan learned a total of 10 languages, including English, French, Arabic, Latin and African languages, in addition to her Turkish, Kurdish, Syriac and German.
Doğan, who has written 22 books in Syriac and German, was awarded by many institutions in European countries, including the United Nations, for her humanitarian aid activities. Saying that despite her full life, her longing for her village in Türkiye she left at the age of 15 did not cease, Doğan left everything and returned to Izbırak, which had by now turned into a neighborhood with the metropolitan law last year.
After Doğan built a new house in the village, 16 more families made a definite return to their homeland. Doğan, is now farming on her father’s land, collecting and drying the sumac grown in the garden. Doğan, who did not sell the sumacs but gave them as gifts, started working to grow peanuts and grapes in an area of 40,000 square meters (430,556.42 square feet).
‘We had to leave’
Stating that they had to leave their village, Hatune Doğan said, “Now we have returned, I have built this house. My sister also built a house nearby. We also repaired and restored these old houses. We are very pleased, thank God. We left here in 1985. At that time. We had to leave. Now, thank God, they have changed the laws and rules. Our president says, ‘Let the Syriacs return.’ He will help us. We are repairing the villages. There are now 17 houses in the village of Izbırak. I started first.”
Doğan explained some of the farming they do. “Now we are collecting sumac. This sumac orchard belonged to my father. It is the legacy of our family. We will collect it for the family. If there is a surplus, we will give gifts to the neighbors. We do not sell it,” she said.
Stating that she grew up in Izbırak, Doğan explained: “I went to Europe, but I grew up here. I planted, gathered, collected sumac, made raisins. It is not strange for me, that’s why I like it very much. It is warmer here than in Europe, but we came here again. Thank God there is freedom here. It is not like before. I was 15 years old then, I worked here, but now if those born in Europe come here, it will be difficult for them, it will be strange. But it is not difficult for me. I enjoy it a lot. If God wills, we will plant these areas in the future. We have cleaned the upper areas, we will clean these areas as well.”