Turkish Armed Forces continue to fight soldier suicides, says minister
ISTANBUL - HDN with wires
AA photoThe Turkish Armed Forces continues to come up with new precautions to prevent suicide cases in army ranks that stirred a heated public debate several months ago, Interior Minister Muammer Güler has said.
“There are no standard measures to be taken for anyone and any situation to prevent suicides,” Güler said in response to a parliamentary question from Peace and Democracy Party Deputy Nursel Aydoğan. “Work continues on the issue, with new measures being taken to stop these sad events from occurring.”
Army members are followed closely from their military examinations on, and those who are troubled go through procedures aiming to detect and prevent emotional distress all through their military duty, Güler added.
“Those with severe psychological problems or with possible problems that may arise in the future, are sent to the hospital following their initial examination,” Güler said. “From the ones that are sent to hospital, those who will not be able to perform military duties are sent home, and those that can be treated are given medical care throughout their term.”
The personnel that are in need of attention are closely watched by their superiors, the army’s guidance counselors and health institutions during duty, according to the minister.
Previous numbers released by Turkish Parliament’s Human Rights Commission have shown an annual average of 100 soldiers having committed suicide over the past two decades, a total of 934 of soldier suicides in the last 10 years and nearly 175 soldier suicides in the last two years alone.
The numbers have been decreasing, however, with a nearly fifty percent decrease in army suicides since 2002, according to Turkish Armed Forces.