Turks arm themselves as more than 3,000 killed in firearm incidents in two years – report

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) MP Omer Fethi Gurer has made alarming revelations that at least 3,028 people were killed in armed incidents in Turkey in the two years between 2016 and 2018, online news portal Gazete Karinca reported on Monday.

Gurer also emphasized that captured unlicensed weapons for the same period are 25,951 in total while 273,447 people got gun licenses only in 2018.

Gurer raised the matter in the Turkish Parliament. The figures came after the CHP MP directed a parliamentary inquiry to the Turkish Interior Ministry.

Interpreting the ministry’s figures, Gurer drew attention to results of other related studies that he said revealed one in every four individuals in Turkey has a firearm.

“The number of gun-related homicides and injuries increased by 69 percent in the last four years,” said the lawmaker, calling on the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to take necessary precautions.

Earlier in the year the Umut Foundation which compiles armament-related data based on events reported in the press called for the prevention of individual armament in its report, drawing attention to the responsibility of the right to acquire and use of arms.

Many believe that easy possession of weapons must be prevented by law, as well as by raising awareness.

Ironically, the ruling AKP passed a decree in 2018 which says all civilians who took part in the suppression of a coup attempt in 2016 will be exempt from prosecution, causing fears it was also encouraging civilians to join vigilantes in the name of defending the country.

On July 15, 2016, an army faction attempted a coup to topple Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The government officials claimed the new decree was intended to protect ordinary people who risked their lives to defend Erdogan, saying it thus only applies to acts that took place during the coup itself.

Erdogan’s critics, however, allege it has been intentionally left vague so that any future violence by government supporters could be exempt from justice.

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