Over 14,000 Turkish children missing in last five years

Gendarmerie Commander Gen. Servet Yörük, speaking at a workshop about missing children on Monday, has said a total of 14,412 children have gone missing in Turkey in the last five years.  

The workshop, held under the title “Let’s not lose them,” featured Yörük and Interior Minister Efkan Ala in Ankara on Monday.

Yörük stated that the workshop had been organized to draw public attention to the issue of missing children, which is among the most serious problems of Turkey, explaining:

“Every year thousands of children are kidnapped out of various motives, such as organ transplants, child labor and armed incidents or terrorism across Turkey and around the world. Every year for the last five years, an average of seven children have gone missing in each region under the jurisdiction of the Gendarmerie General Command.” 

Yörük stated that, according to official data, a total of 14,412 children went missing across the country, and 834 of those kidnapped or missing children have still not been found by gendarmerie forces. 

Also speaking at the workshop, Minister Ala stated that 97 percent of the missing children have been found. Pointing to the importance of a family’s love and affection for their children, Ala said all statistics lose their importance when faced with the case of an individual child, adding that the Interior Ministry and the Ministry of Family and Social Policy should cooperate with security forces on the issue of missing children.

About yavuzbaydar

Yavuz Baydar has been an award-winning Turkish journalist, whose professional activity spans nearly four decades. In December 2013, Baydar co-founded the independent media platform, P24, Punto24, to monitor the media sector of Turkey, as well as organizing surveys, and training workshops. Baydar wrote opinion columns, in Turkish, liberal daily Ozgur Dusunce and news site Haberdar, and in English, daily Today's Zaman, on domestic and foreign policy issues related to Turkey, and media matters, until all had to cease publications due to growing political oppression. Currently, he writes regular chronicles for Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, and opinion columns for the Arab Weekly, as well as analysis for Index on Censorship. Baydar blogs with the Huffington Post, sharing his his analysis and views on Turkish politics, the Middle East, Balkans, Europe, U.S-Turkish relations, human rights, free speech, press freedom, history, etc. His opinion articles appeared at the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais, Svenska Dagbladet, and Al Jazeera English online. Turkey’s first news ombudsman, beginning at Milliyet daily in 1999, Baydar worked in the same role as reader representative until 2014. His work included reader complaints with content, and commentary on media ethics. Working in a tough professional climate had its costs: he was twice forced to leave his job, after his self-critical columns on journalistic flaws and fabricated news stories. Baydar worked as producer and news presenter in Swedish Radio &TV Corp. (SR) Stockholm, Sweden between 1979-1991; as correspondent for Scandinavia and Baltics for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet between 1980-1992, and the BBC World Service, in early 1990's. Returning to Turkey in 1994, he worked as reporter and ediytor for various outlets in print, as well as hosting debate porogrammes in public and private TV channels. Baydar studied informatics, cybernetics and, later, had his journalism ediucatiob in the University of Stockholm. Baydar served as president of the U.S. based International Organizaton of News Ombudsmen (ONO) in 2003. He was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at University of Michigan in 2004. Baydar was given the Special Award of the European Press Prize (EPP), for 'excellence in journalism', along with the Guardian and Der Spiegel in 2014. He won the Umbria Journalism Award in March 2014 and Caravella/Mare Nostrum Prize in 2015; both in Italy. Baydar completed an extensive research on self-censorship, corruption in media, and growing threats over journalism in Turkey as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
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