More than 14,000 children missing in 5 years in Turkey: Report

More than 14,000 children missing in 5 years in Turkey: Report

Meltem Özgenç ANKARA / Hürriyet
More than 14,000 children missing in 5 years in Turkey: Report

Turkish Interior Minister Efkan Ala speaks at a conference on ‘Lost Children’ in Ankara in this file photo.

Over 14,000 children have gone missing in the past five years alone in Turkey, the Gendarmerie General Command has said, noting that many children are kidnapped for their organs, labor or fighting potential.

In the past five years, 14,412 children have gone missing across Turkey, 13,528 of whom were found, Gendarmerie General Command Action head Gen. Arif Çetin told a conference on missing children yesterday in Ankara.

Seven children are lost every day in the area where the Gendarmerie is in charge, but six of the children are found by Gendarmerie forces, Gendarmerie General Command Gen. Servet Yörük said.

Despite the many children who are found, 834 children who were lost in the last five years remain missing, according to Gendarmerie reports. The total number of missing children regardless of the date they went missing is 1,449. 

The gendarmerie has launched a unit working for missing children.

“We launched special teams in 81 provinces on April 6, and around 94 percent of the missing children have been found thanks to these teams,” Çetin said.

Interior Minister Efkan Ala also told the conference that they were working hard on finding missing children in the country.

“Around 97 percent of missing children are found by the gendarmerie or police in Turkey. This is a significant success,” said Ala, calling on families to look after their children.

The highest number of missing children cases is reported in Ankara. The city is followed by İzmir and Bursa, according to the statistics.

The conference came after the death of three children in one month shocked the country. A 4-year-old boy died in the hospital after being found in serious condition with his throat and right wrist slit in the Aegean province of Aydın on April 16.

The boy, identified as C.C., was found in an unused barn belonging to his grandfather after going missing while playing in front of his family house. Doctors have raised the possibility that he might have been subjected to sexual abuse.

The latest murder came less than 10 days after the killing of a 9-year-old boy in the northeastern province of Kars. The body of the boy, Mert Aydın, was found in a garbage dump five kilometers outside the city.

Police launched a large-scale investigation to find the murderer. 

Another young boy, Pamir Dikdik, was found dead in Istanbul on April 5 after going missing a day earlier. A massive search mission that included members of the public was organized for Dikdik before his body was eventually found in the swimming pool of a neighboring villa.