Turkish village massacre orphans face hunger

Children who lost either one of both of their parents in last year's wedding massacre are now facing hunger since assistance for the village has significantly decreased.

Turkish village massacre orphans face hunger

World Bulletin / News Desk

Children who lost either one of both of their parents in last year's wedding massacre at Bilge village in the southeastern province of Mardin are now facing hunger since assistance for the village has significantly decreased.

In May 2009 more than 60 children were orphaned when gunmen raided a village wedding, killing 44 people. The muhtar (local government official) of the village, Abdurrahman Çelebi, whose wife and 5-year-old daughter were also killed in the incident, said conditions in the village were not good.

“The children are struggling with hunger. The state cut our food assistance five months ago. We want to raise our orphans under good conditions. We want them to forget the incident, but now we have to try to find food for them,” he explained.

He acknowledged that the state granted TL 450 for each family, but clarified: “Even if a family has 18 children, the amount doesn't change. There are 18 houses and 61 children in the village. Of course this money isn't enough. After the state washed its hands of us, we have been left all alone. Now the girls, aged only 15 and 16, are cooking for their siblings.”

“The families of the murderers were relocated in a housing complex [near the southwestern province of Kırklareli] and receive food assistance, while our children are struggling with hunger. There are still five killers living among them [in the housing complex],” he said.

Çelebi expressed gratitude to the Turkish Red Crescent for extending a helping hand to the village. “They sent a package for each child. I will apply for their help again. We don't know what else we can do,” he said.

Communications expert Asuman İlek, who visited the village recently, said the village is suffering a humanitarian drama. “The children are living in dirty conditions without adequate hygiene. Most importantly, they are hungry; they have difficulty even finding bread. The children are also acting aggressively since experiencing this atrocity,” she noted.

She said she is meeting with businessmen, football players and civil society organizations for an aid project for women and children to be implemented in Mardin, İzmir, Mersin and Antalya. “The children will receive an education with this project and their needs will be met,” she added.

Last Mod: 06 Aralık 2010, 16:50
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Tamer Kirac
Tamer Kirac - 10 yıl Before

As a community and as a nation, such news should be totally unacceptable.

Where is the "Love thy neighbor, as you love your own?"

Where are all the political, social and religious leaders that speak of forgiveness and caring, especially when it concerns children?