‘Turkey holds largest number of landmines’
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey has not yet destroyed its landmine stocks and currently holds the largest quantity of any other country, overstepping an international deadline by three years.
The 11th Landmines Report was announced yesterday at a press conference in Istanbul by the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, an initiative providing research for anti-landmine campaigns. The report said 87 countries completed landmine stock destruction by 2010, but Turkey has yet to do so. Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor said the Ottowa Treaty’s deadline for the operation was 2008.
Turkey is one of the four countries along with Belarus, Greece and Ukraine that failed to meet the treaty criteria. The country still has 15,000 mines in stock and 977,407 landmines around its borders.
“This is an open violation of the Ottawa Treaty,” said Muteber Öğreten from the Initiative for a Turkey without Mines. She reported a leaked recording of a speech by the former Chief of General Staff Gen. Işık Koşaner in which he confessed the army’s failure to track the mines.
According to official figures, 26 people were killed and 78 others were injured in mine blasts in 2010.
“Ninety-four people, 26 of whom were children and 27 were military personnel, have died in blasts,” Öğreten said.
Ergün İşyeri of the Turkish Disabled Association agreed and said people were sometimes too scared to say they had been injured by a mine because they were trespassing when they were injured.