At least three people died and four others were missing after a boat carrying a group of eight capsized on Tuesday in the Maritsa River while seeking to escape a post-coup crackdown in Turkey.
According to Turkish media reports, the dead were identified as Ayşe Abdurrezzak, a 37-year-old teacher who was earlier dismissed from her job in the crackdown, and her children Abdulkadir Enes Abdurrezzak (11) and Halil Munir Abdurrezzak (3).
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Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Organisation (AFAD) managed to recover bodies of the three while those of the four missing were yet to be found at the time of this writing. The eighth, identified as Fatih Yasar, had made it into Greece, according to AFAD.
Yasar told Euronews that the water was so cold that it was so hard to move.
Media said residents near the river heard yells and informed the gendarmerie about the incident.
According to people with knowledge on the matter, the boat was carrying 3 men, 3 children and 2 women.
One of the men, Ayse’s husband, is also a teacher who was earlier dismissed from his job in a post-coup emergency decree.
Thousands of people have fled Turkey due to a massive witch-hunt launched by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government against sympathizers of the Gülen movement in the wake of a failed coup attempt on July 15. The government accuses the movement of masterminding the coup while the latter denies involvement.
Some 150,000 people have been detained and nearly 60,000 including academics, judges, doctors, teachers, lawyers, students, policemen and many from different backgrounds have been put in pre-trial detention since last summer. Meanwhile, 150,000 people have lost their jobs in the government’s post-coup purge of state institutions.
Many tried to escape Turkey via illegal ways as the government cancelled their passports like thousands of others.
In Nov 2017, Huseyin Maden, a 40-year-old Kastamonu teacher, also dismissed in the aftermath of the failed coup, drowned along with his wife and three children while seeking to escape further crackdown to Greek island of Lesvos.