Tragedy: Young Turkish migrant is drowned, hugging his violin

Tragedy: Young Turkish migrant is drowned, hugging his violin


norman lebrecht

May 01, 2017

Sixteen people are reported to have drowned when a refugee ship sank last week off the Greek island of Lesbos.

The Turkish newspaper Gazeta Manifesto reports:

On board the ship was also a young Turkish violinist – Barış Yazgı, 22 years old, born in Siirt – who wanted to go to Belgium – where his brother lives – to study music. His dead body was found hugging a violin box. Inside his violin box he carried his instrument as well as handwritten compositions.

More here. 

Here’s video of Baris playing (at the right) with a Turkish ensemble.

UPDATE: This never-ending tragedy off our shores.


  • Ungeheuer says:

    Horrendous. Truly heartbreaking.

  • Chester's Gorilla says:

    As tragic as the this occurrence is, something doesn’t add up. The young man appears to have been refused a visa to Belgium and then submitted himself to human traffickers operating leaky boats off Lesbos?? (courtesy Google translate)

    In other regions, well-maintained fleets of boats are supported by corrupt officials and NGOs. Migration is big business:

  • John Borstlap says:

    Unbearable story.

    I don’t read Turkish… Isn’t there somebody who takes care of his compositions?

  • John Borstlap says:

    Is Turkey becoming one of those countries people need to flee from? Thinking about it, it is very strange that a country that accepts refugees from Syria, now would produce refugees of its own population. There’s probably more to this story than meets the eye.

    • Burton says:

      I’d suggest starting with “Inside Turkey’s Purge” from The New York Times dated April 13, 2017. It is positively chilling.

    • John says:

      Erdogan is jailing opponents by the thousands. Many thousands. Remember that last week, Turkey took a vote and gave him more or less absolute dictatorial powers. So now he’s getting to work to consolidate his power.

    • trudy says:

      Turkish people have a very hard time getting a visa to visit countries in Europe just to go on holiday. Alot get denied a tourist visa as i think they are scared of overstayers. It looks like has tried to go to Belgium illegally to visit his brother by paying to go on a boat from Greece. Very sad.

    • Nik says:

      There is no suggestion anywhere that he was a refugee. He just wanted to go and have a better life in another country, which denied him the legal means to do so.

  • Holly Golightly says:

    This is a dreadful story, but one of many many thousands of nameless dead on the road to Utopia. Turkey’s prospects of joining the UE are now all but dead so expect the floodgates to open fairly soon. Until now they’ve ‘contained’ many of the ‘migrants’.

    If people don’t think this ongoing massive geopolitical shift in population isn’t going to send shock-waves and political instability through Europe sooner rather than later I recommend they think about it again.

  • Cynthia Faisst says:

    We must raise 1000 more to replace him. It doesn’t matter where he came from. He was a musician. His violin was his passport. Sadly, a citizen of the world that we will never know.

    There is no such child as other people’s children.
    Who are they anyway?
    Another grim tragedy on my television.
    Why don’t they go away?
    How can you ignore my ache so deep?
    I remember you!
    Born in the world when your senses were asleep.
    Aren’t you the father that I knew?

    Barış drowned with his heart wrapped in his arms. We will never know the happiness that he was going to bring into our world with it. There should be music schools for refugee children all over the World named in his memory.

    A musician doesn’t leave home unless their heart is broken. He had a gift to bring us and we discarded it.

  • Serhan Bali says:

    Whenever there’s an anti-Turkish news in the world media, Norman Lebrecht jumps to it because he hates everything related to Turkey, Turks or Turkish. That’s pathetic. The boy didn’t run away from the dictatorship or whatever from here, he simply couldn’t get visa from Belgium (because of the new strict regulations) and he opted for this tragic way. Poor guy…

    • norman lebrecht says:

      Serhan Bali, editor of a music magazine, never hesitates to distort truth – or to see enemies where there are none. Nothing in this Slipped Disc post is remotely critical of Turkey, or its government. Bali’s anxiety, however, may be indicative of worsening conditions in his country.

      • Serhan Bali says:

        As a follower of your blog from the day you started I can easily say that you have a clear bias towards everything related to Turkey. You tend to avoid publishing positive news about the worldwide succecess of Turkish classical music artists, festivals, young stars etc. Whenever there occurs a scandal here you’re in. I’m not a patriotic man and by the way I’m a fierce opponent of RT Erdoğan since many years but this attitude of yours is very offending and quite often distorts the facts about Turkey because you’re influential.

        • Herr Doktor says:

          Serhan, you are out of line here. Turkey has many issues internally and externally, and none bigger than its ongoing denials of its genocides against the Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks, Kurds, Alevis, etc. It’s difficult for people in the West to take Turkey as a country seriously, because Turkey does not conform to norms that the rest of us take for granted.

          I understand that YOU are not your country nor your President, any more than I represent the idiot President of my country (I live in Boston). But if there is anti-Turkish sentiment in the world (not that I would agree with you that NL has it), be assured there is very good reason for it.

          One day Turkey will hopefully own up to its shameful murderous past and present. Until then, I have no respect for Turkey as a country, and I know I’m far from alone.

          • Serhan Bali says:

            Herr Doktor, I don’t intend to turn this cultural platform to a political one so this will be my last message on this topic. What I just want to say is: Not any country’s hands are clear in this world. Stop being hostile to Turkey and stop discriminating us because of our Ottoman heritage. If I start to list all those horrible atrocities of the western countries’ throughout the centuries that would take a long list, be sure of that. I’ve never been blind to my country’s sins but I think that neither you should for the whole western world’s…

  • Herr Doktor says:

    Nice try, Mr. Bali, but that attempt at deflection doesn’t fly. The difference is that Germany OWNS up to its atrocities. Here in the U.S., there is no policy of denial that our forebears committed genocide against the native Americans. Our country’s national narrative is not that there were atrocities on all sides and both natives and settlers died. Turkey fundamentally has owned up to nothing, and worse, still spreads disinformation. And rather than acknowledge these facts, you instead point fingers elsewhere. And spread your own disinformation: “…our Ottoman heritage.” Forgive me for having a good memory, but haven’t the genocide against the remnants of the Armenians that weren’t destroyed by the Ottomans, and the Kurds, and the Alevis, and the massacre of the Jews in the 1930s, happened post-Ottoman regime?

    Let me hear you say it with your own words, and then maybe I”ll take you seriously.