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:
<strong>Mr Abdullah-bey, help us to help! Release the relief supplies, which are designated to help the refugees in Greece! </strong>
<i>Let us explain a little more in detail: What is this appeal about, really?</i>
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
<strong>English: dresden-hilft-kobane.de/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Zoll_Dresden-Kobane_english.pdf </strong>
<strong> Notice: The storage of our equipment at Ankara Gar is scheduled to terminate on January 11th, 2017! </strong> After that date, it will be confiscated. So your support is urgently needed!
In the name of all signees
Dear supporters of our open letter to Abdullah-bey,
thank you so much for signing our open letter. Abdullah-bey sent an answer. Unfortunately, he will not give in. We believe that he mistakenly considered us to be supporters of violent Kurdish opposition in Turkey. As a result, our equipment was probably seized by the Turkish authorities. We do not know what happened to it.
We do know, however, that no peace will come from actions such as this. Peace will only come from humans being kind to each other. We will keep striving for this - but smarter und more wisely, taking our lesson in from this failed attempt.
Peace to you, and all the best!
Dear supporters of our open letter to Abdullah-bey, deputy director of the customs office at Ankara Gar,
today, we got news from Ankara. On our behalf, the German embassy contacted Abdullah-bey by phone. The good news is: He has received our letter, and he already has posted a response to us.
Unfortunately, we did not mention any fax number in our letter, and the customs office at Ankara Gar is not yet officially connected to the internet. So we will have to wait until the letter gets to Dresden in order to read what he has to tell us.
The bad news is: Abdullah-hey already summarized the content in his phone conversation with the German embassy in Ankara. From his point of view, nothing has changed: We have no shipping company; so there is no way to take the relief supplies back to the EU.
Take a deep breath...
We are attaching a photo that was taken last October. After having negotiated for two days, we were allowed to take our ambulance out from the customs warehouse parking lot. And off we went, all the way back to Greece.
It looks like we will not be allowed to do the same with our medical equipment.
So, all is lost? We do not think so. it takes many small steps to readjust one's thinking. Our argument with Abdullah-bey is one of those steps. It forces everyone to think it over. The world does not make sense if it continues to be ruled in this way.
Add another such argument, and yet another, and one day, their accumulated weight will push events into a different direction - towards peace.
That i what our appeal is all about.
Thank you, so much, for your support.
the crew of "Dresden helps Kobane"
Our mood had been quite different only four months ago, in August 2016, when we packed the ambulance we had bought with the medical supplies which had been donated for our trip into Turkey...