"I Thought Of My Own Son" Says The Turkish Police Officer Who Found Aylan

By Muk Khatri in Bizarre On 7th September 2015


ISTANBUL: A Turkish police officer who was pictured picking up the lifeless body of three-year-old Syrian refugee Aylan Kurdi whose death pricked the world's conscience said he thought of his own son when he saw the toddler on the beach.

Speaking to Turkey's Dogan news agency, Mehmet Ciplak recounted how he prayed the little boy was still alive as he walked towards him and scooped him up from the water's edge.


"When I approached the baby, I said to myself, ‘Dear God I hope he's alive.' But he showed no signs of life. I was crushed," he said.

"I have a six-year-old son. The moment I saw the baby, I thought about my own son and put myself into his father's place. Words cannot describe what a sad and tragic sight it was."

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The Kurdish boy who washed up on the beach was identified by Turkish officials as 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi in news reports. He was in one of two boats, Reuters reported, carrying a total of 23 people that set off separately from the Akyarlar area of Turkey's Bodrum peninsula, apparently headed to the Greek island of Kos, where they could have attempted to enter the European Union. Reports suggested that their ultimate destination was Canada.

Instead, officials said, the boat capsized, and Aylan washed up a few miles to the northeast in Turkey, not far from a beach resort. The dead included five children among them Aylan's 5-year-old brother and one woman. According to the Independent, the woman was the boys' mother, Rihan, 35. Seven were rescued, and two reached the shore in life jackets. According to the Ottawa Citizen, the boy's father, Abdullah, survived.

The family may have been trying to reach Canada. In June, the paper said, Aylan's family "desperately" tried to get permission to emigrate to Canada where Abdullah's sister, Teema Kurdi, lives in Vancouver but their refugee application was rejected by Canadian authorities.


Aylan was buried on Friday in the Syrian town of Kobane, itself now a symbol of resistance by Syrian Kurds against Islamic State (IS) extremists.

Aylan's four-year-old brother, Ghaleb, and their mother Rihana also drowned when their boat sank. His father Abdullah was the only family member to survive and has returned to Kobane to be close to the graves of his wife and children.

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