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Mother, Three Kids Missing in Evros River After Fleeing Persecution in Turkey

A mother and three children have gone missing after a dinghy boat capsized while attempting to cross Evros River in a bid to reach Greece, the father of the children said on Thursday.

The grim incident took place when a group of people fleeing the persecution in Turkey tried to go to Greece through a perilous river journey in the western province of Edirne, bordering both Greece and Bulgaria.

Turkish Journalist Cevheri Guven tweeted the incident on Twitter.

The father Murat Akcabay has made an emotional plea for the rescue of the missing ones.

Writer Cemil Tokpinar claimed the same day that Greek border police located the missing people on the islet in the river, Turkey Purge reported. Six people from the same boat have reportedly been rescued.

Hamza Akcabay, the uncle of the missing children, informed Turkish police and urged the officials to immediately launch a rescue and search campaign. Instead of heeding his desperate plea, the Turkish authorities have detained the man.

The incident is the latest in a series of fatal efforts to cross Evros River, which, according to the German Bild newspaper, has become a graveyard for thousands of asylum seekers and immigrants who try their bid to reach Europe through Greece.

The river offers a natural demarcation zone at the Turkish-Greek border and people attempt to cross to the Greek side often on dinghy, unsafe and makeshift boats.

While mostly immigrants from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria hedged their bets on risky journeys in the past, Turkish people have also, in increasing numbers, joined the ones for crossing through Evros River.

Particularly, people affiliated with Gulen Movement who have become target of a sweeping crackdown both before and after the July 2016 coup attempt take that risk.

More than 150,000 people have been purged by emergency rule decrees in the post-coup clampdown on political opponents. People who lost their government jobs are forced to live under untenable circumstances given the loss of their licenses to work in the public or private sector. Their passports have been revoked and employers are deterred by authorities to hire the dismissed public workers.

For the desperate victims of Turkey’s never-ending purge, this leaves no option but leaving the country for a new life abroad.

A new set of measures proposed by the government for the aftermath of the emergency rule, which came to an end on Wednesday two years after it was first imposed following the botched putsch, enable President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s cabinet to continue dismissing public workers without a need to use emergency laws.

Victims of the purge, already living in a precarious situation in their home country after being deprived of basic livelihood, embrace all the odds and challenges of crossing Evros River.

Earlier this year, one mother and two children perished while crossing the river in the punishingly cold waters of the winter. Until Turkey’s authorities in Ankara address enduring plight of hundreds of thousands of people who have been condemned to live in a perpetual state of destitution since 2016, observers and critics fear that similar tragic incidents may increase at the Turkish border.

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