ANKARA(TURKEY) (TIP): Aylan Kurdi, whose 3-year-old body was captured face-down in the surf in images that have horrified the world, set out for Europe only after Canada rejected his family’s refugee application, a Canadian lawmaker says.
Images of Aylan’s body, clad in blue shorts and a red shirt on a Turkish beach, have heightened global attention to a wave of migration, driven by war and deprivation, that is unparalleled since World War II. They are also raising pressure on governments to be more welcoming to refugees fleeing the horror that Syria has become.
Aylan’s aunt, who lives in the Vancouver area, had sought to get Canadian refugee status for her relatives in the Syrian town of Kobani, which was devastated by battles between Islamic State and Kurdish fighters, legislator Fin Donnelly told the Canadian Press. Donnelly submitted the application on the family’s behalf.
Canadian immigration authorities rejected the application, in part because of the family’s lack of exit visas to ease their passage out of Turkey and their lack of internationally recognized refugee status, the aunt, Teema Kurdi, told the newspaper the Ottawa Citizen. It said she is a hair stylist who moved to Canada more than 20 years ago.
Teema Kurdi said the family her brother Abdullah, his wife Rehan and their two boys, 3-year-old Aylan and 5-year-old Galip_ embarked on the perilous boat journey only after their bid to move to Canada was rejected.
“I was trying to sponsor them, and I have my friends and my neighbors who helped me with the bank deposits, but we couldn’t get them out, and that is why they went in the boat,” she told the Citizen.
The tides also washed up the bodies of Rehan and Galip on Turkey’s Bodrum peninsula Wednesday. Abdullah survived the tragedy. In all, 12 migrants drowned when two boats carrying them from the Turkish coast to the Greek island of Kos capsized.