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Turkish police work to get glue-sniffing kids off the streets

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet | 3/15/2010 12:00:00 AM | GÜLDEN AYDIN

The Istanbul Police Department has initiated a project to save more than 700 children who live on the streets and are addicted to sniffing glue.

The Istanbul Police Department has initiated a project to save more than 700 children who live on the streets and are addicted to sniffing glue.

The children’s unit of the police department has already identified 716 such children, all male and between the ages of 12 and 18, in 27 districts of the city.

All of the youths’ records are being kept, including personal information, data about their families and any treatment received to date with the aim of helping them adapt to normal life with minimum harm.

“This is a project that has never done before,” said Chief Commissioner Osman Tınmazol, the head of the children’s unit.

Istanbul Police Chief Hüseyin Çapkın first initiated improvements to the conditions of the department’s children’s unit when he took up the position in June 2009. He increased the number of police officers and vehicles devoted to the unit and sought to hire officers who are married with children.

The governor’s office heads the project, working in cooperation with eight separate institutions, including the children’s unit, national education directorate and health directorate. Children who are addicted to drugs will receive treatment and those who can be trained for a profession will receive the necessary instruction.

According to Sıtkı Akgül, the deputy police chief responsible for the children’s unit, police forces do not have any problem delivering children to state institutions. The problem is with their treatment, he said, highlighting the need for rehabilitation centers for those children.

“It does not matter how many children you pick up from the streets if there is not a sufficient number of rehabilitation centers to integrate them into society,” he said. “They return to the place where you pick them up.”

As part of the project, the children’s unit is identifying abandoned houses and vehicles where the street youths live and plans to close or completely remove these sites. It is difficult to get children off the streets if they can find a place to stay, police said.

According to Tınmazol, most of these children are not orphaned, contrary to common belief; instead, the primary cause for them to choose life on the streets is their families’ disinterest.

When youths come to the children’s unit, their families are first investigated and then supported if it is possible for them to take care of their child. If there is no improvement in the child’s situation, he or she can be taken from the family and given to state custody.

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Drug addict kills 9 year old

ANKARA – Doğan News Agency

A drug addict reportedly stabbed a mother and her 9-year-old daughter Friday while they were sitting in the garden of their house in Ankara’s Nallıhan district, killing the girl and injuring the mother.

Kadriye Kurtoğlu and her daughter Kardelen were sitting in the garden around 9 p.m. when 30-year-old Volkan Tok allegedly attacked them. He reportedly first stabbed the mother and then caught the girl, who was trying to escape and killed her by stabbing her 11 times.

Gendarmerie forces arrested the suspect, who was drunk. Tok is reportedly a drug addict who has been living on the streets.

Kardelen’s funeral was held in the Black Sea province of Zonguldak while her mother was being treated in the hospital.

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