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Turkey saw 1,616 gun deaths in first 9 months of 2023: NGO

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More than 1,600 people in Turkey died in gun-related incidents the first nine months of 2023, the Mezopotamya news agency reported on Thursday, citing data from the Umut (Hope) Foundation, an NGO that is attempting to raise awareness about gun ownership.

Umut held a protest in İstanbul on Sept. 28, a day on which gun control in Turkey is advocated every year, where foundation board member and psychiatrist Dr. Ayhan Akcan talked about the high number of firearm deaths in Turkey in the first nine months of the year, calling for measures to prevent people’s easy access to guns.

According to Akcan, 1,616 people died in gun-related incidents between Jan. 1 and Sept. 25.

Relatives of gunshot victims also attended the event, with some of them holding banners reading “No to gun ownership.”

Akcan said gun ownership is a social issue and that access to firearms has become easier in Turkey.

He said parliament should restrict firearms purchases.

“Require health examinations for those seeking to own firearms. Establish a hotline for reporting. Ban online sales. We, as a foundation, are ready to cooperate,” he added.

Mustafa Atıcı, the father of Emir Yuşa, who died of gunshot wounds two years ago, also spoke during the protest. Stating that his son died from “stray bullets,” Atıcı demanded that the gunman, who hasn’t been found for two years, be identified and prosecuted for “deliberately causing death.”

According to data from the Umut Foundation, the number of fatal incidents involving firearms escalates every year, with at least 18,769 people dying in such incidents in the last five years.

While 3,801 incidents of gun violence were recorded in 2021, the figure rose to 3,984 in 2022. The fatalities caused by firearms also increased from 2,145 in 2021 to 2,278 last year, the foundation’s data show.

Statistics from the Umut Foundation’s “Turkey Gun Violence Map 2022” also reveal that at least 2,278 people were killed and 4,231 others were injured in incidents involving guns last year.

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