The Officer Who Found Aylan Kurdi Speaks
The world watched Sergeant Mehmet Ciplak lift the boy’s lifeless body from the beach.
The world was horrified last week by pictures of Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy who died trying to flee to Europe and washed up on a Turkish beach. In the images, a Turkish police officer lifts Kurdi’s lifeless body from the sandy shore.
That soldier, Sergeant Mehmet Ciplak, spoke to the Dogan News Agency as by reported by The Telegraph Sunday about the trauma of discovering the body.
“I prayed God to find him alive. I thought of my own son when I saw him,” Ciplak said.
Kurdi, along with his five-year-old brother and mother, were trying to reach the Greek island of Kos when their dinghy capsized in the water.
“I craved, searched for a sign of life,” Ciplak said. “However, I couldn’t find any signs. I felt sick at heart. People kept asking me how I’ve managed to carry this heavy burden.”
He has been a crime scene investigation officer for 18 years and couldn’t help but think of his own six-year-old son when he saw Kurdi’s body. At the time, Ciplak wasn’t aware that the moment was being captured by a Turkish journalist and that the picture would go on to be one of the most indelible images of the refugee crisis.
Kurdi’s father, Abdullah, buried his sons and wife in Kobane, Syria on Friday. "Nothing can compensate me," he said tearfully to The Telegraph. "If you gave me the entire world, it isn’t worth a bit compared to the loss of my children. All I seek is that God gives me patience.
"I was dreaming for my family and they have gone, so the dream has gone as well. I have buried my soul, feelings and mind in the grave.