Police search for 4,000 missing children every month in Turkey
ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency
DHA PhotoTurkish police search for nearly 4,000 missing children every month in Turkey, while 2,600 people have been found in the past four months.
The Turkish national police launched a special team in 2013 of 5,000 experts and police to ramp up searches for missing persons, and found more than 2,600 people in four months, including some who had been missing for more than 20 years, while around 4,000 missing children are being searched for every month.
More than 445,000 missing people have been found between 1995 and 2014, according to the Department of Smuggling, Intelligence, Operations and Information Gathering. Some 7,070 children, though, are still missing according to a November 2014 department report.
The head of the Association of Families Whose Relatives Went Missing, Zafer Özbilici, said socioeconomic issues were the main reason behind the cases of missing children.
“In general, those children are repressed and from families in financial difficulties or with domestic issues,” said Özbilici, who created the association after his brother went missing in 1992.
The association has launched various campaigns such as a bus touring Turkey and grocery bags showcasing pictures of missing children.
According to the police department report, only one in 1,000 of the missing children was not able to be found within the six months following their disappearance.
Still, Özbilici warns it is very dangerous for a child to spend more than 24 hours outside of their home, as it is possible for them to be either a victim or perpetrator of a crime.
He urged officials, such as the security forces and the Family Ministry, for more cooperation to accelerate searches.
“An officer is stalled with official paperwork during the time that he could have spent on finding a missing child,” he complains.
Many families spend all they have in searching for their missing child, says Özbilici. “They lose their wealth and savings,” he said.
“People can accept death and live with it. This situation is much harder than death, as you do not know what to accept and you become exhausted after continuous waiting and you keep thinking about your child’s whereabouts,” says Özbilici.