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Even the pandemic failed to stem gun violence in Turkey, report reveals

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Turkey saw a rise in the number of cases of gun violence in 2020 despite the pandemic that swept across the country, with 2,040 people killed in 3,682 incidents involving the use of firearms, according to a report from the Umut (Hope) Foundation, a leading advocate of gun control in Turkey.

The report, “Turkey Gun Violence Map 2020,” showed that 3,688 people were also injured due to gun violence last year. In these incidents 1,303 of the firearms used were rifles and 1,825 were handguns. Knives and other sharp objects were used in 554 cases.

“Gun violence in 2020, when we had to stay home for a long period of time [due to the coronavirus pandemic] never lessened. The guns did not fall silent. Even the pandemic did not stop the violence,” the foundation said in a statement on its website to underline that even partial lockdowns and curfews imposed to contain the spread of the virus did not lead to less gun violence.

In 2019 Turkey experienced 3,623 incidents involving gun violence, which led to the death of 2,211 people, according to the Umut Foundation’s 2019 report on gun violence in Turkey.

The 2020 report showed an upward trend in gun violence in Turkey since 2015, with a 69 percent increase in gun violence over the past five years. The highest increase in gun violence took place in the Central Anatolia region, which saw a 90 percent rise in the number of cases involving gun violence over the past five years, followed by the Marmara region by 75 percent and the Aegean region by 71 percent.

The top five provinces with the highest numbers of recorded gun incidents are İstanbul, the Black Sea province of Samsun, the southern province of Adana and the western provinces of İzmir and Bursa.

In its statement the foundation called on Turkish authorities to take legal measures to prevent individuals arming themselves and to bring those who resort to gun violence to justice.

According to the foundation, there are more than 4 million licensed guns and more than 20 million unlicensed guns in Turkey.

The Umut Foundation is a prominent civil society organization dedicated to reducing personal gun ownership in Turkey that prepares its reports based on information gathered from local media.

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