The body of 21-year-old Mahir Mete Kul, who went missing on March 24 when the boat carrying him capsized, was found in the Evros River on Monday.
The body was identified by his mother, Ünzile Araz, who lives in exile in Greece. Araz posted an emotional message on Twitter stating that her son’s body had been found. She also thanked everyone who lent her support at this difficult time.
Kul reportedly wanted to flee Turkey because he was standing trial on terrorism charges due to alleged links to a radical leftist organization, known as the Revolutionary Youth (Dev-Genç).
He was studying computer engineering at İstanbul’s Beykent University. His family had heard nothing from Kul since March 24.
Kul was arrested on terrorism charges in 2017, remained behind bars for 10 months and was released from prison pending trial five months ago. A travel ban was also imposed on the university student, which apparently forced him to seek an illegal way to get out of the country.
Kul’s mother, who left Turkey for political reasons, said a person who was on the same boat as her son called her and said the boat had capsized. Araz said she reported the incident to the Greek police as well as Turkish security officials so that they could launch a search and rescue effort to find her son.
“My son was a young university student. They put him in jail. He was also barred from going to the university after his release. He had to choose this [illegal] way because he was facing a travel ban,” Araz had earlier said.
Thousands of people have fled Turkey illegally since a failed coup attempt in July 2016 following which the Turkish government launched a massive crackdown on non-loyalist citizens under the pretext of an anti-coup fight. Most of these people are followers of the Gülen movement.
During these risky journeys, mostly by way of the Maritsa River or from Turkey’s Aegean coast, tragedies have taken place and dozens of people have perished on their way to Greece in capsize incidents. (SCF with turkishminute.com)