The three unidentified dead bodies that washed up on the northeastern shores of Lesvos in November may belong to a Turkish family fleeing persecution as Gulen supporters, investigating authorities on Lesvos said on Thursday.
It was originally believed that the three bodies might belong to refugees or migrants that drowned in an attempt to reach the island from the Turkish coast but this explanation soon came under scrutiny when neither Frontex nor the UNHCR, nor Turkish authorities, reported any vessel in distress.
The first body found was that of a little girl, discovered on November 5, while the body of a small boy washed ashore on November 10 and that of a man on November 11. In its clothes, Greek authorities found a Turkish identity card belonging to a Turkish citizen named Satilmis Maden, born in 1979.
The information was relayed to the Turkish consulate on Rhodes and the three bodies were buried in the island’s Muslim cemetery after DNA samples were taken for future identification.
According to reliable information from Turkish sources, it was revealed on Thursday that a Turkish family of five, a father and mother and their three children, has been missing for more than 20 days after attempting to reach Lesvos in a wooden boat. They were identified as Huseyin Maden, 40, and his wife Nur Maden, 36, who were both sacked from their jobs as teachers over alleged links to the Gulen movement, following the attempted coup in Turkey.
The couple and their children – Nadire Maden, 13, Bahar Maden, 10, and Feridun Maden, 7 – were allegedly fleeing an investigation by Turkish authorities into their ties to the Gulen movement, which is accused of trying to topple Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
According to family members, they had gone to the Turkish coast and tried to come into contact with migrant traffickers, to smuggle them across to Lesvos. The fee demanded for passage in the traffickers dinghies (roughly 5,000 euros) was too high, however, so the family had purchased an old wooden boat for 1,000 euros and tried to make the crossing alone. Their last communication with family in Turkey was in early November, when they said they had set off for Lesvos and were very close to the island, since they could see the lights on the shore.