Peace Islands Institute New York invites you to join its fundraising campaign to support Turkish refugees in Greece. For over two years, a silent and terrifying exodus has been taking place in Turkey. Thousands of victims of Turkey’s purge are forced to flee Turkey and risk their lives trying to cross the dangerous Evros River towards a safe-haven in Europe. Their story touches us deeply: some of us feel that had we lived in Turkey, we would have probably had to choose the same route through Evros River to escape.
Umit and Sevinc with their children Edip and Nese looking at their newborn sister Irini. Greece, 2018. Copyright © Alex Morel.
Meet the family of Umit and Sevinc, meaning Hope and Joy, respectively (their names are fictitious to protect the identity of the victims). Sevinc was seven months pregnant when, together with their five-year-old daughter Nese and fourteen-months-old son Edip, they crossed the Evros River into Greece. They were forced to leave Turkey under threat of being jailed for their association with Hizmet. For two and a half days, they walked and slept in the woods crossing the icy river with the help of smugglers. When Sevinc was about to give birth, not being able to communicate, they headed to the hospital. Asking for help, they met a Greek lady who spoke Turkish, and she stayed by their side all through the birth and ever since. They named the baby after her, Irini.
Irini, holding baby Irini. Greece, 2018. A Greek woman embraces a Turkish newborn named after her. She has become a godmother to the family. Her name means peace. Copyright © Alex Morel.