Skip to main content

 Tima Kurdi is overcome with emotion as she looks at photos of her late nephews Alan and Ghalib Kurdi, at her home in Coquitlam, B.C., Canada, on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. The body of 3-year-old Syrian Alan Kurdi was found on a Turkish beach after the small rubber boat he, his 5-year old brother Ghalib and their mother, Rehanna, were in capsized during a desperate voyage from Turkey to Greece. The family stated that the spelling of the names had been changed by Turkish authorities to Aylan Galip and Rehan, but were in fact spelled as Alan and Ghalib and Rehanna.

Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP

Government officials say that the Syrian family whose young children drowned off the coast of Turkey didn't formally apply for asylum and that an application was made instead for another relative.

The tragedy that struck the family of Abdullah Kurdi, who lost his wife, Rehanna, and their two sons, three-year-old Alan and Ghalib, 5, had made front-page headlines around the world.

Mr. Kurdi's sister, Tima, lives in British Columbia and had said she petitioned Immigration Minister Chris Alexander to accept her relatives.

Story continues below advertisement

Citizenship and Immigration Canada said in a statement Thursday afternoon that the department had handled an application for another Kurdi brother, Mohammad, not for Abdullah and his family.

"An application for Mr. Mohammad Kurdi and his family was received by the department but was returned as it was incomplete as it did not meet regulatory requirements for proof of refugee status recognition," the statement said.

"There was no record of an application received for Mr Abdullah Kurdi and his family."

The department also denied that if had offered citizenship to Abdullah Kurdi. Reporters in Turkey had quoted him saying he refused an offer of citizenship.

During a tear-filled press conference, Tima said the family's efforts to get to Canada was hobbled by lack of money and paperwork requirements.

"To be honest I don't want to just blame the Canadian government...I'm blaming the whole world," she said.

She said Mohammad couldn't provide a Turkish document which was the equivalent of a work permit.

Story continues below advertisement

After his application was rejected, Mohammad made his way to Germany but his family is still stranded in Turkey, Tima said.

"He regrets being in Germany and leaving his family behind."

She said she hadn't filled an application for Abdullah's family because she couldn't afford it yet.

She wanted to sponsor her relatives privately, with guarantors among her family, friends and neighbours. "Financially, I said I can only sponsor one family at a time. I didn't ask the Canadian government for financial anything," she said.

Instead, she wrote a letter to which her local MP delivered to Mr. Alexander.

She said the letter asked "Please, is there any way you can help my family come here."

Story continues below advertisement

There was no response.

After she told Abdullah she could not afford to sponsor him, the family then decided to try to cross to Europe.

She sent money to pay smugglers, broken into smaller amounts so it could be wired more easily -- "one thousand here, one thousand there."

Abdullah was supposed to go by himself. But he said his wife couldn't work and won't have been able to support the children by herself in Turkey, even though Tima was sending money for the rent.

So the whole family decided to go together, even though the wife, Rehanna, said she was scared of the water.

Abdullah told a Syrian opposition radio that he paid $5,860 for four spaces on a five-metre-long dinghy, which was crammed with 12 passengers for the journey to Greece. Their boat sank off the Turkish coast Wednesday.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter