Hurryet Daily News — A “cemetery of the nameless” has been established near the coast in the western Turkish province of İzmir for Syrians who died while trying to cross over to Greece.
The newly founded Doğançay Cemetery hosts dozens of graves bearing numbers rather than names, with an imam praying for the unidentified bodies during their burial.
The number of Syrian refugees buried in the cemetery, administered by the İzmir Municipality’s Cemeteries Directorate, reached 187 with the burial of 12 people who died in the disaster off the western coast of Turkey on March 24.
Many of the dad are identified but often their families ask for them to be buried in the Doğançay Cemetery due to their inability to transfer the bodies home to Syria amid the ongoing war.
“It’s very hard to bear it. The children especially make us sad. It’s painful for them to be buried under soil alone in a place they don’t even know, when in fact they should be playing in their homes’ gardens and should be with their friends,” imam Hüseyin Akgül told daily Hürriyet.
He added that a family of six – Hamide, Suzan, Azime, Cano, Peyman and Fatma Şeho – had lost their lives in the recent disaster off Kuşadası.
The dead bodies of the refugees are kept in a morgue for 15 days after the autopsy. If no one claims the dead body, then it then it is sent to the Doğançay Cemetery after the DNA sample and a photograph is taken.