Turkey 'lending leg' for a day in pursuit of mine-free country

Turkey 'lending leg' for a day in pursuit of mine-free country

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey lending leg for a day in pursuit of mine-free country

A girl stands among a group of people as they hold a demonstration to increase landmine awareness in Turkey. DHA photo

Organizers of a campaign to pressure Turkey into destroying the 1 million landmines in the country called on the country’s citizens today to roll up a pant leg today in the interests of “lending a leg for a day for a mine-free world.” 

Turkey has not fulfilled its obligations to dispose of the 977,000 mines on its territory despite its ratification of the Ottawa Treaty, said Müteber Öğreten, the organizer of the “Initiative for a Mine-Free Turkey,” which is part of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL).

“We are calling on the Turkish government to destroy the mines on our land. I saw children playing games on minefields in [the southern province of Mardin’s] Nusaybin district last year. Ten months ago, some kids found a mine where they were playing and called the gendarmerie; this is unbelievably dangerous,” Öğreten told the Hürriyet Daily News today. 

Şafak Pavey, a Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy who wears a prosthetic leg, as well as Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder, supported the campaign by rolling up their pant legs for the Turkish version of a promotional video. 

Öğreten said their campaign started a month ago and had achieved success in eastern provinces, which has been affected by landmine explosions, as many had joined the campaign by rolling up pant legs.

According to Öğreten, 1,269 people have died due to landmine explosions in Turkey in the last 26 years. Some 625 of them were soldiers, while the rest were civilians.

A number of nongovernmental organizations, Amnesty International Turkey, the Human Rights Association, the Disabled People’s Association of Turkey and the Turkish Medical Association are all participating in the Turkish leg of the international campaign.