As media coverage of missing children in Turkey has recently increased, Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) Vice Chairperson Gamze Akkuş İlgezdi announced data compiled by the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) showing that more than 100,000 children have been reported missing in the country in the last eight years.
According to data published by the Birgün daily on Tuesday quoting İlgezdi, between 2008 and 2016 a total of 104,531 children were reported missing by their families.
The number of children who were found is unknown.
“Unfortunately the Justice and Development Party [AKP] government has been neglecting such issues,” İlgezdi said.
In that eight-year period, 2014 and 2015 recorded the biggest number of missing children, with 18,696 and 17,706, respectively. While 59,435 of them were girls, 45,096 were boys.
In addition 26,168 children had run away from home and started to live on the street.
Deputy İlgezdi also stressed a lack of extensive reporting on missing children in terms of the reasons for going missing, the period of time until found and the socio-economic status and education levels of their families.
There was not even any data specifying the number of children who had been found out of the total number of children reported as missing, according to İlgezdi.
Two out of three children recently reported as missing were found dead, sparking public outrage over the issue, with politicians pledging to increase measures against such crimes.
One of the missing children was also sexually abused.
“For sexual abuse cases, castration or the death penalty are foreseen,” AKP spokesperson Mahir Ünal said on Tuesday.
Turkey abolished capital punishment in 2002 as part of reforms required for European Union candidacy but has recently been discussing reinstatement of the death penalty.