Aylan Kurdi was three years old when he drowned in the Mediterranean | COPYRIGHT: picture-alliance/AP Photos
Aylan Kurdi was three years old when he drowned in the Mediterranean | COPYRIGHT: picture-alliance/AP Photos

The family of Aylan Kurdi have denounced a Turkish movie based on his life and death at sea. Images of the drowned toddler's body sent shockwaves around the world when he died.

The family members of Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old toddler who drowned in the Mediterranean in September 2015, have denounced the release of a new film about the Syrian boy.

His aunt Tima Kurdi told Canada's CBC broadcaster that no one had asked the family's permission to make the movie about her nephew. She said she had learned about it only from the boy's father, Abdullah Kurdi, who is now living in Iraq.

"He called me and he was crying, too. He said, 'I can't believe somebody is already making a movie,'" Tima Kurdi told CBC's Deborah Goble.

Release of movie 'unacceptable' to family

"I'm really heartbroken right now," Tima Kurdi explained to CBC. Tima now lives near Vancouver in western Canada. She added, the way in which the movie had been produced, without the consent of the family was "unacceptable."

Ms Kurdi also explained that Aylan's father Abdullah especially struggled with the idea of seeing his dead son being revived on the silver screen.

"I cannot imagine him coming alive" on film, Ms Kurdi said her brother had told her. Tima Kurdi, who has published a book about her nephew titled "The Boy on the Beach," also stressed that Aylan's family had turned down several proposals for making a film about his short life.

80s action star to feature in movie

According to the CBC, the movie, titled "Aylan Baby (Sea of Death)," is currently in production in Turkey, with a cast including American action film star Steven Seagal – who, in addition to his action movies, is known for his outspoken support of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Turkish writer/director Omer Sarikaya told CBC that while the theme of his film followed certain aspects of the story of the Kurdi family it was much broader in scope, dealing with the overall refugee crisis.

"This will be 'Aylan Baby,' it will not be 'Aylan Kurdi,'" he said, adding that it was now too late to change the title of the movie. However, one early version of the movie poster seen on Sarikaya's Instagram account shows the actual image of Aylan Kurdi's body that went around the world, embellished by the title "Aylan Kurdi (Sea of Death)," casting doubts over just how closely the storyline may resemble the young boy's actual fate.

Sarikaya had also posted various photos of the film's poster on other social media accounts, expressing hopes to sell the movie to Netflix, which might imply that the movie does not have sufficient distribution channels secured yet.

The film is, however, set to premiere in the Turkish seaside resort of Bodrum, where it is being filmed and where Aylan Kurdi's body was washed up, on September 2.

Hollywood actor Steven Seagal is reportedly starring in the movie | COPYRIGHT: picture-alliance/dpa/Sputnik/R. Sitdikov

The picture that rocked the world

The image of Aylan Kurdi's lifeless body washed up on a Turkish beach went around the world, and quickly became a symbol of the so-called refugee crisis. The boy had died alongside his brother Galib and mother Rehana while fleeing the conflict in Syria, as they tried to reach Greece from Turkey by boat.

The photo of Aylan's body caused uproar across Europe, ultimately contributing to the European Union's decision to temporarily open its borders to Syrian refugees.

Earlier in 2019, a German rescue boat was named in honor of Aylan Kurdi.

Tima (l.) and Abdullah Kurdi attended the renaming of the rescue ship after Aylan Kurdi earlier in 2019 | Picture-alliance/dpa/M.Lüdemann


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