https://ahvalnews.com-The rate of gun violence in Turkey has gone up by about 75 percent in the last seven years across Turkey, the non-profit Umut (Hope) Foundation reported on Friday.
Incidents of armed violence saw an increase of 12.5 percent in 2021 compared to 2020, the report found.
The populous Marmara region, which includes Turkey’s largest city Istanbul, saw the most incidents, with 985 being recorded, according to report, followed by the Mediterranean region with 551 guns incidents, central Anatolia with 507 and the western Aegean with 492 cases.
Gun ownership has increased in Turkey during the time frame reviewed by Umut’s researchers. According to one researcher, there is currently an estimated 25 million guns in Turkey but 90 percent of them are not registered weapons. Data from the Turkish Gendarmerie General Directorate showed that applications for gun ownership surged by 34% between 2019 and 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic struck the country.
To own a gun in Turkey, one has to share a a genuine reason to possess a firearm (hunting, protection, collecting, etc.), be 21 years of age and pass a background check that considers any history of crime, mental health problems, domestic violence, medical, and addiction.
These regulations are multifold, but rules for individual ownership were relaxed in September 2021 that made it possible for persons deemed “objectionable” for owning licenses to be re-evaluated.
Gun ownership has risen worldwide since 2017 including in firearm-averse countries like those in Europe, but these figures are troubling in Turkey because they arrive at a time of heightened concern over high rates of domestic and gender-based violence, politically-motivated killings, and economic insecurity sparked by a financial crisis