Happy Children’s Day: 633 children killed in Turkey in 2013
On April 23, 1920, The Grand National Assembly of Turkey was established. This day was later dedicated to the children of Turkey and the world and it was declared The Holiday of National Sovereignty and Children. Numerous events are organized every year to celebrate this special day devoted to children.
In his speech on April 23, 2013, the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, made some powerful and very important statements. He said:
The children of this beautiful country, believe me, extensively deserve the best. The children of this country deserve an education that is the most widespread, the most modern and of the best quality. The children of this beautiful country extensively deserve cities where they can play as lively as crickets, safe streets and modern education. All children of Turkey really, and I mean really, deserve a homeland where they can grow up in prosperity and stability, in solidarity and sorority. Believe me, all of this country’s children deserve to grow up with their mothers and fathers, to sit down and dine with their mothers, fathers and siblings, to hug their father every night to their heart’s content.
With these words, Recep Tayyip Erdoğap painted a beautiful picture of a country of freedom and peace, a country that respects human rights. But there were some details that the Prime Minister forgot to paint on his picture and the devil is in those details. Let me fill them in.
Erdogan said “The children of this beautiful country, believe me, extensively deserve the best” but the children are deprived of this.
He said “The children of this country deserve an education that is the most widespread, the most modern and of the best quality” but if they are Kurdish, Laz, Circassian or Armenian, they are not even allowed to be educated in their mother tongue.
He said “The children of this beautiful country extensively deserve cities where they can play as lively as crickets, safe streets and modern education” but playgrounds are replaced by shopping malls, and children are being shot and run over by police forces.
He said “All children of Turkey really, and I mean really deserve a homeland where they can grow up in prosperity and stability, in solidarity and sorority” but they are murdered in the streets and by the border.
He said “Believe me, all of this country’s children deserve to grow up with their mothers and fathers, to sit down to dine with their mothers, fathers and siblings, to hug their father every night to their heart’s content” but this is made impossible by the imprisonment of the fathers.
Recently, a group of activists consisting of experts in child development, social workers, sociologists, psychologists, jurists, pedagogues, architects, academicians and editors, working for children’s rights in Turkey, published their annual report on the abuse of children’s rights in Turkey. The report focuses on the causes of child deaths in 2013.
According to the report, more than 633 children were deprived of their right to live in Turkey in 2013. This number is based only on information gathered from the media, from local sources and from reports by human rights organisations. It does therefore not reflect the actual number of deaths but merely represents the top of the iceberg.
Below are listed some examples for each cause of death that could be prevented.
*3 Children died at social events:
Sinan Saltıkap (17) died on April 23 when a police vehicle arriviving to interfere with an occurring tumult hit him. (Şırnak)
*5 children died due to land mines and military ammunition:
Muğdat Çavmak (14) died on May 26 when stepping on a landmine. (Hakkari)
*4 children died due to extrajudicial punishment:
Hasan Bakdur (16) died on November 12 when returning home from the field where he was working, when he was suspected of being a smuggler and was run over by a military team’s armoured car. (Şanlıurfa)
*21 children died due to the neglect of public servants (including health, education, care, sports events)
Celal Eren (8) died in November in a swimming pool where 6 lifeguards were keeping guard, when he had an epileptic attack. (Bursa)
* 8 children died due to the war in Syria
Fatma Erboz (3), Murat Yelli (17), Meryem Zor (14), Abdulkadir İşcan (14), Oğulcan Tuna (17) died on May 11 during a bomb attack. In total 52 people were killed. (Reyhanlı, Hatay)
*1 child died due to hate crimes
Kahraman Kaya (17) died on April 22 after being attacked by a racist group. (İstanbul)
* 41 children died due to indoor violence, peer violence and child murderings
Hüseyin K. ( 11) was killed on March 26 by his mother with an axe. (İstanbul)
* 8 children died due to individual armament
Yusuf Gündoğdu (8) died in September when the head of the village opened fire at a wedding and Yusuf was hit by the bullets. (Afyonkarahisar)
* 19 children died after committing suicide
Muhammet Erdemli (17) was married through an arranged marriage at the age of 16, got into financial troubles and suffered depression. He committed suicide. (Adana)
* 406 childen died due to neglect (Traffic accidents, home accidents, fires, stove-gas poisoning, poisonings, electrical shocks, urban and rural areas, others)
Zehra Nur Çiftçi (2) died in November when playing on the street and got hit by a car. (Şanlıurfa)
Harun Çiğden (4) died in October after falling down from the 3rd floor balcony of an apartment. (Şırnak)
Ömer (4) died on November when his 6-year-old brother put him into the washing machine while playing and the machine began to run after the lid was closed. (İstanbul)
İsra Çakmak (3) died when he was caught by the electrical leakage of a utility pole. (Diyarbakır)
Arif Arda Tezcan (4) died in September after falling at the playground and breaking his neck. (Denizli)
* 89 children died due to employment murders
Fert Güler (17) died on May 3 during work when he was mounting windows on the 4th floor and fell. (Tekirdağ)
* 11 children died due to catastrophes
In January, when an avalanche was formed due to a rain shower, the supporting wall of an astro pitch fell down onto 7 children. They all died. (Şırnak)
* 17 children who were not Turkish citizens died
Melek Hackaddur (10) who was staying in a refugee tent for Syrian refugees died in February when the tent caught fire. (Şanlıurfa)
In addition to this 8 children were killed by the shooting of tear-gas-cannisters.
Berkin Elvan (15) was shot in his head on June 16 during the Gezi Park protests, was in a coma for 268 days and died afterwards. (İstanbul)
This list is a shortened version of a shortened version, and yet it is too long. And every single line represents the evil details that the Prime Minister Erdoğan year by year forgets to mention when he gives his anual speech about his great hopes for the children of Turkey; the hopes that he has a huge role in depriving them of.
Happy Children’s Day!