How a troubled violinist came to drown off the coast of Greece

How a troubled violinist came to drown off the coast of Greece


norman lebrecht

May 05, 2017

The Independent is the second English-language outlet, after Slipped Disc, to report the death of Baris Yazgi, a Kurdish-Turkish violinist who died last week in the Aegean Sea, still clutching his violin case.

Reporter Lizzie Dearden has pieced together fragments of his movements and his motives by taking to family members and a former girlfriend.

Read her account here.

And our editorial here.


  • Herr Doktor says:

    Very sad. And the fact that he is Kurdish probably played no small part in his desperation to leave. It’s just horrible what the Turkish state is doing to its Kurdish minority.

  • John says:

    If he wanted to live in Belgium, shouldn’t he have submitted an immigration application, as everyone else does?

    Or was he trying to cross illegally into Belgium, then demand to stay by claiming his human rights would be infringed? Was his life at risk? No, he was an economic migrant trying to pervert the system. Harsh, perhaps, but many of us are not so naïve to ignore the true ‘tragedy on our shores’.

    • Herr Doktor says:

      John, with all due respect, it’s really dispiriting that you know nothing about this man’s life yet you feel comfortable making all sorts of assumptions that lead to an inevitable conclusion. I just wish more of us would show empathy for others and their struggles. Even though all of us have challenges of various sorts, some have a lot more than others. If someone’s circumstances are so difficult that they would take such a desperate step as Baris Yazgi did, I’d hope that it would make others pause for a moment and say, wow, it must have been so awful where he was that he would take such extreme measures to try and have a life. No one uproots themselves from their entire world unless they have good reason to. Some only see it through a prism of economics, but if you know anything about what’s going on in Turkey, let alone to Turkish citizens of Kurdish descent, it’s not hard to imagine what that could be. When you live in a world where lots of people suddenly “disappear” or turn up somewhere as corpses, and that’s business as usual, then maybe I’d like to hope you would re-think some things.

    • Fan says:

      John, music is not for you.

    • Bruce says:

      …Baris had no job, no insurance and no money – none of the requirements needed to obtain a legal visa.

      ‘Baris knew he wouldn’t get the visa anyway so he probably didn’t even try, or maybe he did and got refused,’Cengiz [Baris’s brother] told The Independent.”

      It’s great that you know so much more about his actions and motivations than his family does. Maybe it would help them feel better if you wrote to them and explained everything.

      • John says:

        He knew he would not get the visa, and did not meet the requirements, so he decided to try to travel there illegally. I understand.

    • jp says:

      “I’m sorry I have to turn you in the the SS. But I’m only following the law.”