AUGUST 25, 2012 – THIRD POST – GERMAN GOVERNMENT NOW DEEP IN SYRIAN CRISIS COMMITS TO TEACH TURKS HOW TO SWIM
Mercury News Service Investigative Report. Ermelind Pferdfeder reporting.
(Somewhere on the Euphrates) It’s now official, the Turkish government has taken the unusual step of countering Syrian missile strikes against its 6 operational dams on the Euphrates River by contracting with a German company to provide swimming instructors for the millions who live on the banks of this ancient waterway. Germany, always pleased as punch to serve the beloved Turks, agreed to send the BatavierSchwimGesellschaft fur KlumpfussenSeemanner team to represent the German Republic.
These German sailors are nice replicas of the real instructors undertaking the herculean task of teaching millions of Turks how to swim in turbulent fresh water.
The actual cost of the service is confidential, but, MNS has learned that one of the conditions is that the Turkish government build a real German Brauhaus in Gaziantep where the club members can relax after a long day instructing Turks in water safety and how to swim in currents exceeding 80 mph.
The Brauhaus Schmitz just opened another branch Wednesday in Gaziantep to accommodate the 30 German swimming instructors. There is speculation that the terrorist bombing in that town might have been inspired by the grand opening of a German beer hall.
The leader of the team is former OberUnterAutobahnFuhrer, Gustavo Heulenschreck, who brings typical Bavarian joviality to his job. “Vee have vayz to teach zem how to shvim”, he says with a twinkle in his eye.
“Such a pretty dam”, said the late Syrian Defense Minister, Dawood Rajiha. The Ataturk dam was built circa 1990 and is considered a jewel of foreign engineering. It was built by German engineers, naturlich.
The Turkish high command has known for some time that Syrian Scud B and Scud D missiles were aimed northward at the concatenation of dams Ankara built to both develop electrical energy and to starve lower riparian nations like Syria and Iraq. The Turks acknowledge they have no defense against Syria’s massive missile arsenal. General Haluk Bobbinkuk came up with the idea that the single best way to deal with such a catastrophe was swimming. But Turks in Anatolia have little experience with the sport and would be caught unprepared if and when Syria exploded the Ataturk damn, for example. The German Batavian team is in Turkey in order to develop this countermeasure.
Gustavo Heulenschreck beams for the camera as he takes his first dip in the Euphrates River.
Syria has been preparing for months a response to the eventuality of hundreds of thousands of floating Turkish refugees landing on her territory. People trained in lifesaving techniques and CPR are encouraged to sign up at the Ministry for Refugee Affairs in Douma, near Damascus. It is expected that business will be brisk when the first dam is destroyed. Syria expects Saudi Arabia to pay for the care of the Turks once they’ve floated into the northern provinces.
The German instructors have been warned not to make themselves too visible especially while enjoying the local beer. One swimmer, Balduin Bonifatius, was disappointed that the Turks did not serve pork, an absolute staple for the sausage-devouring Teutons. Hildegaard, an employee at the Brauhaus, was stoic about the entire project, “These Turkish men keep looking at me like I’m some prize heifer. It’s okay.”
Hildegaard takes a snort of beer before starting her evening shift at the Brauhaus.
In the meantime, Angela Merkel, Germany’s Chancellor, has referred to the mission with pride saying: “It is only through German ingenuity that hundreds of thousands of Turkish lives can be saved. Our hearts are with you oh BatavierSchwimGesellschaft fur KlumpfussenSeemanner!” We noted that Madame Merkel was able to say that without taking a breath.
Mercury News Service will continue coverage of this soon-to-be-developing humanitarian catastrophe. We note the BBC and NYT are already covering it although it hasn’t started yet.