For the last few years, Maritsa River has been the main route for those who want to flee from the injustice in Turkey. Although this River has helped many people attaining a new life, unfortunately some were not that lucky.
The Abdürrezzak family, comprised of four people, was one of those unlucky families that got buried in the dark and cold waters of Maritsa. They had been facing psychological and financial problems for a long time. 39-year-old English literature teacher Uğur Abdürrezzak and 37-year-old Turkish literature teacher Ayşe Abdürrezzak were fired from their jobs. Uğur Abdürrezzak got arrested and was prisoned for 11 months in İzmit. His family suffered from poverty and despondency. After long detention, Uğur Abdürrezzak got released on probation. Consequently, he was trialed for 6.5-22 years. After talking with his wife, they decided to flee from Turkey with 11-year-old Abdülkadir Enes and 2-year-old Halil Münir.
When they started their journey, there were eight more like them who had decided to leave Turkey. Smugglers would take them to Greece by crossing Maritsa River with a boat. They would start a new life where the rule of law prevailed. That was their hope. They did not feel confident on the plastic inflatable boat they boarded. Although they had questions in their minds, their determination to flee the country as soon as possible was making all the other possibilities useless. They had no homeland left to live. They had nothing but fear of imprisonment, exiguity and the dark future for their children.
According to Fatih Yaşar, the only survivor among the eight on the boat, they had even envisaged death. In the night of February 13, 2018, when there were a few meters left to Greece territory, the boat had stuck at something and started to drag. They tried not to panic, but in the darkness of night they desperately dragged to nowhere. Then the boat hit a tree, and suddenly it turned upside down.
Fatih Yaşar tells what happened afterwards as follows:
“River was so cold. The only thing that comes into your mind at that moment is straight off getting out of water. I don’t remember any voice after that moment. Not a child voice, not a cry for help nor anything else. I was in shock, I was about to drown and I felt so cold. While struggling, I grabbed a tree branch and held it. But I could hardly hold because my hands were almost freezing. I struggled for hours, holding one branch after another I hardly climbed up to shore. When I got there, I turned and looked around, but there was no one. It was completely dark and there was no sound. I couldn’t hold myself anymore and started crying. I hoped, they could have come out from somewhere else but unfortunately, no one had survived besides me. Everything was over.”