A truckload from Dresden, Germany, full with medical devices, is stuck at the Turkish customs office at Ankara Gar. It took us more than one year to collect donations for it. Our initial goal was to support the reconstruction of the city of Kobane in northern Syria. But then the Turkish-Syrian border was closed down.
So we changed our agenda: We agreed with the office of public health in Diyarbakir, the biggest city in the east of Turkey, to offer the equipment for their use. In September 2016, we transported the supplies to Ankara. However, the office of public health of Ankara province denied the permit for their use in Turkey. So we confered with the authorities in Diyarbakir and changed our plan again: We decided to recover the equipment in Ankara and take it to Greece instead for use by NGOs which are active in supporting refugees there.
On our own expenses, we drove to Ankara twice, in October and again in December 2016. On both occasions, the customs officers at Ankara Gar, while assuring us of their willingness to help, eventually found some reason to corrupt our efforts and refused to return the equipment to us.
Therefore, we now are sending this urgent appeal to the customs officer who is in charge at the Turkish customs office at Ankara Gar:
Mr Abdullah-bey, help us to help! Release the relief supplies, which are designated to help the refugees in Greece!
Let us explain a little more in detail: What is this appeal about, really?
At face value, the struggle between us and the Turkish customs officers is about bureaucratic restrictions. Basically, however, the issue is trust. Apparently, the officers are blaming us for having twisted intentions. Unfortunately, such an attitude is highly fashionable nowadays. Distrust seems to be rampant and is rapidly spreading in many corners of the world. But distrust is feeding more distrust. This in turn increasingly legitimizes the use of violence as the only adequate way of action. A perfect negative feedback loop. As a result, the world is getting a more and more miserable place for more and more people!
This must stop. Our petition is meant to send a message against this vicious circle of distrust.
Hence we wrote a letter to the customs officer in Ankara and sent it to him, together with a Turkish translation. We do not want to argue. Instead, we are explaining to him our motives once again. And we are asking for his help.
Let us find a way to cooperate! Together, we can alleviate the plight of the refugees in Greece. And we can demonstrate that is is possible to break the vicious circle of mistrust and violence. This is what our plea is about.
Learn more about our initiative at www.dresden-hilft-kobane.de (in German) or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Read the original text of our letter to Abdullah-bey, deputy director of the customs office at Ankara Gar
Notice: The storage of our equipment at Ankara Gar is scheduled to terminate on January 11th, 2017! After that date, it will be confiscated. So your support is urgently needed!
In the name of all signees
Im Namen aller Unterzeichner/innen.
Dresden, 02.01.2017 (aktiv bis 11.01.2017)