Left Military Ammunition Kills Another Child (Turkey)

Yet another child, this time, Kerem was killed when a piece of metal he was playing with exploded. Two other children were injured in the incident. There is still not sufficient work to educate children against military mines and abandoned ammunition.


BİA (Siirt) - 11-year-old Kerem Turan and his 12 year old brother Osman were playing together with Yilmaz Ertas (11) with a piece of metal they found near a firing range of Siirt's Eruh district which is used by the Gendarme Regiment Command and Police Directorate.

An explosion killed Kerem on site and wounded his brother Osman and friend Yilmaz.

Despite an immediate investigation launched by a prosecutor arriving at the scene, the nature of the explosive was not clear. A large number of soldiers and policemen were deployed to the area as reinforcements following the blast.

When Kerem Turan's family wanted to visit the scene of incident they were barred by the police and gendarme. A subsequent squabble between the family and police left behind relatives crying, family members having a nervous breakdown.

Two children found with anti-aircraft shells

As news of Kerem's death spread throughout the Southeast, in the Bornova district of Turkey's western coastal city of Izmir, police conducting a body search on two children aged 13 and 15 found three live anti-aircraft shells on the minors.

The 20mm Russian made shells were found in a local trash bin and picked up by the children who treated them as toys.

No one sees the mines or explosives

Muteber Ogreten, from the Initiative for a Turkey Without Mines says both incidents reflect an ongoing problem in Turkey where sufficient education and awareness is not provided to children against left-over ammunition and mines.

The initiative itself prepared a special awareness poster for children using international visual aids which, under the title "Don't Touch Mines or Explosives! Let Adults Know" was supposed to be distributed to various schools in regions that are exposed to the threat.

The Parliament Human Rights Commission had undertaken the poster's responsibility, the Interior Ministry and Ministry of Education had approved it and the Parliament itself had put ot in print.

Last May, the posters were sent to 11 provinces where mine incidents have been recorded, to be distributed in a number of schools: Agri (670), Batman (392), Bingol (335), Bitlis (393), Diyarbakir (1070), Elazig (430), Hakkari (250), Siirt (341), Sirnak (250), Tunceli (47) and Van (794).

No posters reach Siirt

Ogreten says the Initiative wanted the posters to reach the schools before holidays so an awareness among the children could be created "but there have been some delays in the posters reaching the schools and we have learned that unfortunately some schools, such as those in Siirt, have not received the posters".

"Had the posters been sent timely" she says, "they could have played an important role in prevent the incidents that have led to the death or injury of children".

Turkey failing on mine measures

According to the 2006 international mine report disclosed in the recent days, Turkey has still not passed the local legislation required under the 2003 "Mine Banning Convention" which went into force in 2004.

Turkey still does not have a National Mine Activity Official or a National Activity Cntre.

Turkey's 2006 stocks show the country has 2 million 979 thousand 165 mines and the last date for their disposal is March 1, 2008.

There are 1 million mines that have been planted in Turkey and although it needs to clear out and dispose of these by March 1, 2014, it has only cleared out 17,886 mines in the year 2005.

Turkey has reported that for training and research reasons it is keeping 16,000 anti-personnel mines and this figure is not only the second highest number of anti-personnel mines after Brazil but also about 10-15 fold what most other countries have.

Von: 27.9.06, www.bianet.org

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