If only you had stayed in Turkey, Erdoğan tells drowned Syrian toddler's father
Even after Aylan Kurdi's death, some shops in the western Turkish city of İzmir keep displaying life-jackets on-sale by using child-size shop window dummies, daily Hürriyet reported Sept. 5.Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has extended condolences to the father of Aylan Kurdi, a 3-year-old Syrian Kurdish boy who drowned along with his mother and brother while trying to cross on a rubber dinghy from Turkey to a Greek island.
"If only you had not put to sea so that we could host you in our country," presidential sources speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News quoted Erdoğan as saying during a phone call with Abdullah Kurdi.
12 refugees drowned on Sept. 2 when two boats sank in the Aegean, and images of the lifeless body of Aylan Kurdi washed ashore in Bodrum in southwest Turkey sparked a wave of emotion across Europe -- the final destination for migrants seeking better lives.
Local journalist Mustefa Ebdi said three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, his four-year-old brother Ghaleb and their mother Rihana were buried in the Martyrs Cemetery in the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane near the border with Turkey.
Abdullah Kurdi, who survived the incident, "looked broken and numb" as he addressed a large gathering, said Ebdi who attended the service on Sept. 4.
Erdoğan called the father on Sept. 5. "Those two babies were our children as much as they were your children. And your esteemed wife was our sister," he told Kurdi, according to presidential sources.
Turkish president also told the mourning father that Ankara hosts around 2 million refugees and 220,000 of them came from Kobane. In return, Kurdi told Erdoğan that he would like to contribute to Turkey's efforts to distribute humanitarian aid in Kobane.
A court in the southwestern resort town of Bodrum ordered the suspects to be placed under arrest on suspicion of organising the perilous journey and causing the death of 12 migrants including four children.
The four suspects, including the captain of the boat, are charged with "migrant trafficking" and "causing the death of more than one person through deliberate negligence," according to the report.
They are now set to be held in jail pending a trial whose date has yet to be set.
Photos of Aylan Kurdi's lifeless body on a Turkish beach had triggered a global outcry, forcing several developed countries to rethink their policies on migrants and refugees.