Turkish anti-gun group calls on PM to adopt ban
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
This file photo of an event organzaied by Umut (Hope) Foundation shows empty shoes and flowers put down in memory of the people killed in gun attacks. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜRELPlans to limit gun sales in the United States following a recent school shooting have led to calls for a similar limitation in Turkey.
The founding chairman of the Umut (Hope) Foundation, Nazire Dedeman Çağatay, has sent letters to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and U.S. President Barack Obama urging them to enact legal arrangements limiting gun sales.
The plea came in the wake of the mass killings of 20 first-grade children and seven women in Newtown, Connecticut last week, with Obama backing amendments to such limitations.
In her letter to Erdoğan, Çağatay said a law on guns was shelved in 2009 after it was approved in parliamentary commissions, and urged the prime minister to revisit the issue.
The Umut Foundation was founded by Çağatay after her son, Umut Dedeman, a teenage scion of the prominent Dedeman hotelier, was shot dead by a friend in 1993.
Some 20 million guns, only 2.5 million of which are licensed, are owned by individuals in Turkey, according to a report by the foundation that called on the government to limit individual armament.
The number of armed conflicts has doubled in one year, according to Berna Çapçıoğlu Pehlevan, coordinator of the Umut Foundation, and 57 percent of armed assaults are part of domestic violence, despite the frequently voiced excuse of “self-defense from strangers.”
“This is the most problematic result of the study. This shows that Turkish people fend off their family members, not strangers,” Pehlevan told the Hürriyet Daily News Dec. 21.
When the reasons behind armed events are considered, 23.5 percent are related to domestic violence, 33.8 percent are related to friends, lovers and relatives and 57.3 percent occur among acquaintances.
Ticking time bomb
“No monitoring, recording, certification or training, we do not have any of these in Turkey when it comes to armament. This is a time bomb, we are only waiting for it to explode,” Pehlevan said, noting that gunfire killed 3,000 people in 2007, while the number has climbed to 4,500 this year.
However, the gun sector
does not agree. Gun Manufacturers and Dealers Association head Veysi İleri said it was not that easy to obtain a gun license in Turkey.
“The world is not at peace always, a war can occur any time and we face situations in which to defend ourselves,” İleri told the Daily News Dec. 21.
According to İleri, it was not logical at all to compare Turkey to the U.S., which he said is a heaven for people to access arms easily.
“In Turkey, you have to go through a physical and psychological examination before obtaining a gun license,” he added.
“Everybody knows in Turkey, God forbid, if a civil or international war occurs, the hunters will be the ones defending this country,” İleri added. k