Parliament talks suicides in army
ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
934 private soldiers reportedly committed suicide over the last 10 years in Turkey.The Turkish Parliament’s Human Rights Commission head, Ayhan Sefer Üstün, has noted that 175 private soldiers committed suicide over the last two and a half years, with the number reaching 934 over the last 10 years.
“Within the last two and a half years, 233 were killed in incidents regarding inner security, with 818 army personnel killed over the last 10 years. The number of suicide cases is more than the number of those killed in clashes. These numbers are unacceptable,” Üstün said.
Parliament’s Human Rights Commission held a meeting yesterday on the violation of soldier rights, during which suicides were discussed.
“The number has passed the number of soldiers killed in fighting with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK),” Üstün said. “This is unacceptable and should be followed closely.”
During the meeting, the Peace and Democracy Party’s (BDP) Mersin deputy Ertuğrul Kürkçü said suicide cases in the Turkish Armed Forces were ten times higher than the overall number in Turkey. “We must think about this. This is not a thing to gloss over. Neither we nor the Turkish Armed Forces can stay indifferent to those young people who were dragged to commit suicide,” Kürkçü said.
The Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Ordu deputy İhsan Şener noted a file on two soldiers who burned to death after entering a bakery oven to seek warmth. “This provokes a lot of thoughts. And if they really needed to get warm, it is yet another problem,” Şener said, adding that the process of exploring legal remedies for soldiers should be guaranteed through legislation.
Dr. Tolga İslam, who made a presentation on behalf of the Soldier Rights Platform during the meeting, said he was very disturbed by what he saw while doing his military service and felt obliged to do something about it.
İslam mentioned the website they opened in April last year, adding that they kept files on complaints made via the website. “We have a simple concern. If compulsory military service is to continue, preventing maltreatment of soldiers must be guaranteed. It is necessary to help these 20-year-old young men who are unguarded and do not know how to defend their own rights.” According to İslam, the platform received a total of 432 applications from all provinces in just one year.