Over one million landmines remain undetected in Turkey: NGO
ISTANBUL - Anadolu Agency
There are still 3,520 mined areas in Turkey, the report said, calling on the government to step up the process as the time frime allotted by the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention ends this year. DHA photoMore than one million landmines still remain undetected in Turkey, a local NGO advocating for the fulfillment of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention said in a report released on Nov. 28. Only 1 percent of mined areas has been cleared since 1998, the report also said, adding that one person was killed or severely injured due to a landmine every three days.
The head of the initiative for “A Turkey Without Landmines”, Muteber Öğreten, said that Turkey had asked for eight additional years to finish clearing all landmines, calling on the Turkish government to expedite the process in order to fulfill its commitments to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention.
Turkey became a party to the Convention, also known as the Ottawa Treaty, ten years ago, which is the time frame allotted to countries to clear all its mined areas. However, there are still 3,520 mined areas in Turkey and only 26,000 mines were cleared in 2012, according to the report.
“We are very concerned. The time needed [to complete the project] could exceed [the stipulated 10-year time frame], which means casualties will continue for at least eight years,” Öğreten said.
Turkey spent 55 million Turkish Liras on clearing landmines since 2004, with each clearance of a single landmine having cost the government 4,678 TL.
As per the report, Turkey had destroyed over three millions stockpiled mines and only 15,000 remained for training purposes.
Öğreten also stressed landmines were traded clandestinely, with shipments that have been seized in Syria and Yemen attesting to the claim.
For his part, the head of the Turkish Federation of Disabled People, Şükrü Boyraz, said those who became handicapped after stepping on a landmine were “left to their fate.”
Boyraz also said that each local in almost any village or city located in Eastern or Southeastern Anatolia knew someone who was killed or disabled by landmines.