Turkish main opposition: 241 children killed in 11 years under AKP rule

Turkish main opposition: 241 children killed in 11 years under AKP rule

Turkish main opposition: 241 children killed in 11 years under AKP rule

A friend mourns 12-year-old boy Nihat Kazanhan (R), who was allegedly shot dead in the Cizre district of Şırnak on Jan. 14. AFP Photo

In the last 11 years, 241 children have been killed in Turkey, lawmakers from main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) have said, citing documentation by the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV).

According to figures by other civil society organizations, the number of children killed during the same period is 477, CHP lawmaker Rıza Türmen said at a joint press conference with fellow CHP lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu, held on Jan. 22.

“There haven’t been any changes in the AKP’s policy of ‘hunting children’ during the time between when 12-year-old Uğur Kaymaz was killed in front of his house wearing his slippers and when 14-year-old Berkin Elvan was killed when he left home to buy bread during the Gezi incidents,” Tanrıkulu said.

In Cizre, a town in the southeastern province of Şırnak, a number of children have been killed in the last few weeks, Tanrıkulu said, criticizing the fact that there has not been a single perpetrator taken to court for these killings.

“With the case of Kaymaz’s death setting the precedent, all of the other child murder cases have either gone unpunished or they have been finalized with penalties like awards,” he also said.

Ahmet Kaymaz and his 12-year-old son, Uğur, were shot dead by the police while walking along a street in the southeastern province of Mardin’s Kızıltepe district Nov. 21, 2004.

Elvan, 14, was shot in the head by a police tear gas canister and passed away in March 2014, after having been in a coma for nine months. Elvan was going out to buy bread for his mother on a Sunday morning when he was shot with the canister by the police.

Tanrıkulu distributed a list to journalists at the conference that has the unsolved murders of children committed from 2002, when the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power, to 2014.
The AKP has been in power since 2002, winning three consecutive parliamentary elections in 2002, 2007 and 2011.

Türmen underlined that the investigation and trial processes concerning the killings of those 241 children have not been conducted “transparently,” but rather with “a protective approach” regarding the security officers involved in killings.

“All of us have an obligation to stop children from being killed by the state. It doesn’t matter whether or not a case has been opened, what matters is the result of that case,” said Türmen, a former judge at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

According to information provided by Tanrıkulu, the numbers of children killed in different years are: 18 in 2006; three in 2007; one in 2008; 12 in 2009; 14 in 2010; 31 in 2011; 10 in 2012; one in 2013; and three in 2014.

Twenty-two of the 34 villagers who were killed in a Turkish military airstrike in 2011 in the village of Ortasu (Roboski) in Şırnak were children, Tanrıkulu recalled, emphasizing that four children were among the seven people recently killed in Cizre.