Monday, 29 November 2010

This article appeared in the Daily Mail November 27, 2010:
I have just phoned Ali Nasuh Mahruki (Chairman of AKUT mountain rescue people) in Turkey. He informed me a few days ago that a new search was starting today.
He has just informed me that due to adverse weather conditions on the mountain (heavy snow), they have not started the search. But he tells me that they will be monitoring the weather with the intention of beginning the search in the next few days.
This is the link to the interview which was broadcast on Isles FM in Stornoway this morning:

Saturday, 27 November 2010

I have just finished doing an interview over the phone with Stornoway-based Journalist Iain Maciver. He tells me it is due to be broadcast on Isles FM on monday morning at about 8.05 am.
Still no news about Donald. We are waiting for the outcome of the search which we are told begins on Monday.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

I have just been speaking by phone to Ali Nasuh Mahruki in Turkey, he's the chairman of the AKUT mountain rescue people there. He told me that the reason there is no urgency in the search is because it was so long before they were informed. He said 20 days had passed before he heard. He also said, "if he is on the mountain, then there is no chance that he is alive." I suppose we had surmised as much ourselves.
He expects a team of 15 - 20 men to turn up and begin searching on Monday now, instead of Saturday, but can not be sure of exact numbers until then.
We can only hope that Donald is not on the mountain.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

I recently said on this blog that I was having doubts over the truthfulness of reports about a proper search team which was supposed to be heading for the mountain.
Well, my friend and ex-colleague Stornoway based Freelance Journalist Iain (X.) Maciver saw my post and swung into action. He leaped onto his phone and eventually managed to wrangle his way through or over the various barriers (language etc.) to the chairman of the AKUT search and rescue association in Turkey.
According to what the chairman told Iain, not one, but two teams are due to assemble at the foot of Ararat on Saturday. We are told they will then begin a proper search of the mountain.
If they find Donald, then, that will perhaps, be that.
But if they don't find him, the next part of the plan will be set in motion.

I must thank all the people who have been visiting my mother in Stornoway during this very difficult time. It is greatly appreciated. But there is one problem - she's wondering how on earth she's going to manage to eat all the home baking (nice dufs - a big piece has ended up here in Edinburgh) people have brought.
I have an idea: when you go to see her make sure you sit down, have a cup of tea and scoff as much of your own baking as you can manage.
Again, many thanks.
Sorry about the delay in setting up the fund account, but it shouldn't be long now.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

A few days ago I posted on this blog that we had been told that a 20 man search and rescue team were setting out to look for Donald.
We have heard nothing about it since.
This makes me wonder if there was any truth in it.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Apparently, Donald was quite well known and popular in the small community near Mount Ararat.
We are told that the locals are suspicious of foul play.
We hope this means he is merely being held captive.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Video of Donald on Ararat in 2005

You may have heard about the horrific torture and murder of three Christian missionaries which occurred in Turkey in 2007.
It is 12.30am and I have just arrived back home in Edinburgh after spending the past week in Stornoway. I have spent most of today travelling, so I'm afraid I haven't been able to do any digging for information today, but keep your eye on this blog.

Friday, 19 November 2010

We are told that a 20 man team of professional mountain rescue people is on its way to Ararat to search for Donald. It appears that this may be a decision by the government as a direct result of pressure being put on them due to the media coverage of the story.
This team is expected to arrive at Ararat in about three days, which sounds like quite a while to me.
We wait and see.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Burhan was searching at the higher levels again yesterday, but there was three feet of snow covering the mountain. Still no sign.
I suppose we can draw a small measure of hope from the fact that no sign of any equipment (tent etc.) has been found, though I think it is possible for this to be buried under the snow. Still, we live in hope that he is not on the mountain but possibly being held by some group.
His van was found intact where he left it at the foot of the mountain. The police have taken it to the police station in Dogubayazit (nearest town to Ararat, pronounced "doe-u-bay-zit").
We are in the process of setting up a fund in the Bank of Scotland which people can contribute to if they wish to. We will keep you updated with that on this blog.
Remembering that God is the giver of our providences. It's for our good.
Thanks, Derick.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Ararat is situated in the extreme east of Turkey close to the Iranian border, it is 17,000 feet high. Ben Nevis is 4,000.
There are a number of possibilities as to what may have become of Donald.
Apart from the obvious one of his having had an accident on the mountain, there is also the presence of the PKK (Kurdish Workers Party), who are internationally designated a terrorist organisation, and operate in the region. Apparently they are not averse to the odd abduction; but would they be found at nearly 15,000 feet?
The possibility of his having crossed the Iranian border and been arrested by the authorities there has also been mentioned.
The Turkish army also patrols the area and are suspicious of people like Donald.

Pictures of Ararat:

The following is a translation of an article about Donald which appeared in the Turkish press when Donald last ascended the mountain.

"A Missionary on the slopes of Mount Ararat."

The Scottish architect MacKenzie travels the world telling about Protestantısm. The missionary, who for a long time has inhabited Mount Ararat joked, “Noah’s Ark brought me here.”

This has happened in the very east of the east, where many people won’t set foot because they say “There is terror, or mines, this and that” in a place where there isn’t even a toilet, in a village with only 10-15 houses, surfaces a missionary.

The Protestant missionary Donald MacKenzie has blended in so well that none of the villagers condemn him. We meet in the house of Musa Kotal, a guide with Donald MacKenzie. Musa lives in an Armenien village, Örtülü, 25km away from Doğubayazıt [Dogubayazit is the town nearest to Mount Ararat]. We go to Örtülü in the hope of finding a guide to help us up the mountain. Just as we were about to enter the house MacKenzie emerges.

“What on earth are you doing here?” we ask in quite an arbitrary way.

At first he is reticent but then says calmly “I am a Christian missionary” He distributes Bibles.

MacKenzie has a caravan type vehicle. It’s like a little house with a bed, plates and books. He travels the world in this caravan telling about Protestantism. Most of the time he stays in the skirts of Mount Ararat. As he is telling us this he suddenly runs inside as if he has forgotten something. He comes back with a Bible. This is a Turkish bible. He suggests we read some of the pages.

Musa’s sister is making us tea as we speak. Where are you from?


“Do you have an occupation?”

“I am an architect but I don’t do that. I am a missionary.”

"How long have you been a missionary?"

“For about 10 years.”

“How did you come here?”

(laughing) “Noah’s Ark brought me…It’s here…”

“What exactly do you do here?”

“I tell the people here about Protestantism.”

“How do you communicate with people?”

“People who know English always turn up here. And I know a little bit of Turkish.”

“Do people react to you?”

“What I see here, it would be wrong to call reaction. Most listen with respect.”

“Have any become Protestant?”

“Only God knows that.”

“Do you go to other countries?”

“Yes I have been to many. One of the countries I spent a long time in was Israel. I got a lot of reaction there. They get very angry at missionaries. Turkey’s very relaxed compared to there.”

“Have you had similar experiences here?”

“Once I gave Bibles to Erzurum University students [large town in eastern Turkey]. The police came when they saw the bibles. They seized the bibles and took them to the police station. They held me for a few hours then let me go.”

“Have you ever climbed the mountain?”

“A few times, it’s very dangerous. It’s not a well-known mountain. Everyone goes from wherever they like. There are loads of people we don’t know about up there.”

A Christian in the home of an Alevi, everyone listens to Mackenzie with small smiles. Then someone jumps in unable to stop himself. His name is Bayram. “Oh come on”, says Bayram, “Do you think after all this time we are going to change religion. Our people change to whatever religion people talk about.”

Musa’s family are Alevi. The grandfather of the house sits in the corner as the table is set. The television set displays a mixture of Turkish then Kurdish. The meal set out on the floor sports chicken and rice. MacKenzie sits and prays. The grandfather waits smiling for MacKenzie to finish his prayer. Then he too prays.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

By Derick Mackenzie.

It’s been seven weeks since anyone has heard anything from Donald. That was a text message sent to his Turkish friend Musa from 14,700 ft. up Ararat. The picture on the right is thought to be the last picture taken of Donald before his disappearance, it was taken in the town at the foot of Ararat.

A search team consisting of 4 men began a search of the mountain yesterday. This team is being led by a Turkish man local to the Ararat area who has climbed the mountain a number of times, his name is Burhan, he is on the left in the other picture.

The latest report tells us that because they ascended so quickly, three of the 4 climbers are experiencing migraine headaches due to the altitude and have been unable to continue, so Burhan left them at 11,500 ft. and continued searching on his own. He has been searching at the 14,700ft. point in various dangerous areas like gullies and so on, with still no sign of Donald.

Tomorrow will be the last full day of the search.

The costs of this search are to be met completely by family and friends, the Turkish authorities seem utterly uninterested.

My contact: