IPA – (Athens) The mother of a 22-year old Turkish national has urged authorities to intensify the search and rescue operations in order to find her son, “dead or alive”. Mahir Mete Kul has been missing since Sunday when the boat in which he and his friend were traveling capsized on Evros, a river that marks the Turkish-Greek border.
“My son fled fascism and oppression back in Turkey,” Unzule Araz, who has also been living in political exile in Greece for five months, told IPA. “I want to see with my own eyes that my son is being searched for on the river. I want to join the operations.”
Kul, a computer engineering student at Istanbul’s Beykent University, was trying to flee persecution in Turkey after he spent 10 months in jail on terrorism charges for attending protests held by a high-school branch of Revolutionary Youth (Dev-Genç), an outlawed leftist organization.
The student was released from prison, pending trial, five months ago, and a travel ban was imposed on him. He and a friend, Sadik Senbaba, decided to leave the country illegally and head for Europe. They paid a smuggler to take them in a boat on Evros river, Araz said.
On Sunday, the boat capsized and Kul went missing. His friend informed the Greek police and the family of the incident. However, there has been no information on the whereabouts of Kul for three days.
On Tuesday, Araz pleaded with Greek authorities to launch a search and rescue operation, calling for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to intensify the efforts to find her son.
“I too am a political figure like my son; a revolutionist. We were both tortured in Turkey. Syriza [Tsipras’ ruling party] must help us,” she cried out.
The grieved mother explained that she also has years of prison sentences back in her country because of her political affiliation. She asserted that people flee Turkey because of the mass political crackdown on dissidents, which targeted tens of thousands of citizens following the abortive coup of 2016.
“I call out to mothers and fathers,” she said. “It is not only my problem. This is what causes all of us to be refugees. I want to find my son, dead or alive. I want this to be the last incident on Evros. Let’s not hear that the bottom of Evros is full of corpses. Let’s not allow our children to be killed there.”
According to official reports, dozens of people have drowned on Evros while trying to escape persecution.
*Reporting by Zubeyir Koculu