Military academy to investigate suicide among Turkish soldiers
Umut Erdem ANKARA
CİHAN PhotoThe Turkish military has launched an investigation into suicide cases among its soldiers, Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz has said, in response to a parliamentary question from the opposition.
“Efforts have been launched to found a center under the Gülhane Military Academy of Medince [GATA] to investigate suicides,” Yılmaz said in response to Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy İbrahim Ayhan’s questions.
The military is taking measures to prevent accidents or other deadly incidents and offers preemptive services, particularly for personnel marked as problematic, he added.
Noting that death rates in military barracks have increased significantly in recent years, Ayhan said suspicious deaths were a cause of concern for families.
“Most deaths are recorded as causalities occuring during tasks or suicides,” Ayhan said, claiming that the real causes of death were not being revealed in an “objective manner.”
He also asked whether all dead soldiers were officially considered “martyrs.”
In response, Yılmaz said the regulations did not include a procedure to determine whether causalities are martyrs and the Social Security Authority was authorized to decide on the rights of the families.
The families of officially “martyred” soldiers are granted special social rights, which many say are insufficient.
Daily Milliyet reported at the end of last month that two soldiers, Mehmet Akif Adıyaman in Kocaeli and Müslüm Erdem in Kütahya, had committed suicide, while Levent Besin was shot by his own rifle, over the course of just 24 hours. All three dead soldiers were 21 years old.
A total of 983 soldiers committed suicide between 2002 and the first quarter of 2013, according to official figures quoted by Minister Yılmaz.
Separate figures from the ministry show that 166 soldiers died between Jan. 2, 2012, and July 15, 2013, some 108 of whom committed suicide. The number of soldiers killed by accidental gunshot wounds was 40, according to the figures.
At the end of last year, the military abolished an archaic code that demanded 1.11 Turkish Liras (less than $1) be given by the families of soldiers who commit suicide - the expense of a single bullet.