Cemil Karabidek, a 52-year-old noncommissioned officer, froze to death while trying to flee to Greece in an attempt to  avoid a crackdown launched by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government following a failed coup in 2016.

According to Turkish journalist Sevinç Özarslan, Karabidek embarked on a refugee boat to cross the Maritsa river late on Tuesday night, but fell off the boat halfway. Although he reportedly managed to get back on the boat, he later died of hypothermia.

The purge-victim man was fired from his job following the failed coup in 2016 and was accused of having links to the Gulen group, which the government accuses of masterminding the coup attempt. The group denies any involvement.

Since 2016, dozens of people including children have drowned in the waters of the Aegean Sea or the Maritsa River while trying to flee the crackdown, while others died in prison or under detention either due to maltreatment or because they were ailing and were denied medical treatment.