+   *    +     +     
About Us 
The Issues 
Our Research Products 
Order Publications 
Press Room 
Resources for Monitor Researchers 
Email Notification Receive notifications when this Country Profile is updated.


Send us your feedback on this profile

Send the Monitor your feedback by filling out this form. Responses will be channeled to editors, but will not be available online. Click if you would like to send an attachment. If you are using webmail, send attachments to .


Last Updated: 18 October 2011

Casualties and Victim Assistance

Casualties Overview

All known casualties by end 2010

6,360 (1,269 killed; 5,091 injured)

Casualties in 2010

94 (2009: 95)

2010 casualties by outcome

22 killed; 72 injured (2009: 34 killed; 61 injured)

2010 casualties by device type

5 antipersonnel mines; 4 antivehicle mines; 64 undefined mine types/IEDs; 21 ERW

The Monitor analysis of media reports collected by the Initiative for a Mine-Free Turkey (IMFT) identified at least 94 new casualties due to mines/victim-activated improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and explosive remnants of war (ERW) in Turkey in 2010. Of the total, 41 were civilians, including 26 children, and the rest were security personnel including at least two paramilitary “village guards.”

Three of the civilian casualties were women and two were girls. Most child casualties (19 or 73%) occurred due to ERW incidents, often involving children playing with the explosive item. Several of these ERW incidents occurred near military installations including a gendarmerie station, a military dump, and next to a military firing range. One casualty occurred while crossing the border with Iran and three child casualties happened while grazing animals near the border with Iraq. All other casualties occurred in areas of special security operations.[1]

Analysis of IMFT data identified at least 95 casualties in 2009[2] and 100 casualties for 2008.[3]

The government of Turkey reported 104 mine casualties (26 killed; 78 injured) for 2010. No details on military status, gender, or age were provided in the reporting. This represented an increase from the 83 mine casualties Turkey reported for 2009,[4] but was still lower than the 158 mine casualties reported for 2008.[5]

The total number of mine/IED and ERW casualties is unknown, but there have been at least 6,360 casualties from mines alone since 1984. According to a media report in April 2009, the Ministry of Internal Affairs recorded 6,360 mine casualties since 1984; 1,269 people were killed (625 security personnel; 644 civilians) and another 5,091 people were injured (the number of civilians compared to the security personnel injured was not reported) in mine incidents.[6] Turkey reported 4,083 mine/ERW casualties, including 834 people killed and 3,249 injured, as of the end of 2010.[7]

In 2008, a demining specialist reported at least 10,000 casualties of mines (mostly civilians) along the Turkish-Syrian border since the 1950s (more than 3,000 killed; 7,000 injured).[8]

Victim Assistance

By April 2010, at least 5,091 people were reported to have been injured by mines in Turkey since 1984.[9]

Assessing victim assistance needs

No efforts to assess the needs of mine/ERW survivors in Turkey were reported in 2010. There was no system in place to collect data on mine survivors or their needs. The Prime Ministry Administration for Disabled People office collects data on all persons with disabilities, but did not distinguish the cause of disability or mine/ERW survivors.[10] The European Commission (EC) reported that a lack of data and research on persons with disabilities, more broadly, remained a barrier to informed policymaking in Turkey.[11]

The Diyarbakir Bar Association collected information on mine/ERW casualties in the affected regions and continued to offer assistance to mine survivors who are eligible due to their financial circumstances.[12] The Human Rights Association collected records on survivors and casualties’ families who contact the organizations’ branches for assistance; information collected includes needs. Among the 13 branches in affected areas, 42 mine/ERW survivors or people killed, were registered in 2010.[13]

In February 2011, Ufuk Uras, one of the Member of Parliament for Istanbul, asked follow up questions in parliament about the situation for mine/ERW survivors including: “Which health, social and economic assistance has been provided to mine victims” and how many survivors had accessed that assistance.[14] The time period from a response had expired by the time parliament stopped sessions to prepare for an election.

In 2006, Turkey had reported that it was initiating a program of transition to an international injury classification system that would include mines and ERW.[15] No further progress was reported as of mid-2011.

Victim assistance coordination

Government coordinating body/focal point

None in 2010: the Administration for Disabled People was identified as the key government focal point in 2011, but was not yet active in mine affected areas

Coordinating mechanism(s)




The Administration for Disabled People, under the Prime Minister, is responsible for protecting the rights of persons with disabilities. The main functions of the Administration for Disabled People are coordinating between national and international institutions, formulating disability policy to promote the full participation into society and equality of people with disabilities, and defining and solving problems faced by disabled people.[16]

Until late 2010, the Administration for Disabled People had not been informed about the issue of victim assistance and Turkey’s responsibilities to survivors under the Mine Ban Treaty. Although the Administration had not previously been aware, or involved, in victim assistance or issues relating to mine/ERW survivors, its representatives acknowledged that the role was within its existing mandate.[17]  In 2010, the Administration for Persons with Disabilities was reported not to have been active in the mine-affected regions.[18]

In April 2011, the IMFT held a workshop to launch the first mine/ERW Turkish Victims’ Network. The workshop was attended by survivors and family members of people injured and killed as well as volunteers and lawyers who would together make up the network. A plan for 2010 with objectives to address the needs of survivors and concerns of the Victims’ Network was drawn up. The objectives and concerns were presented to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Administration for Disabled People at a meeting in May 2011.[19]

Article 7 reporting on victim assistance is updated by Turkey annually, but only addresses casualties who receive treatment at military medical facilities. Article 7 (and Convention on Conventional Weapons Article 13) reporting did not include information on services available to civilian mine/ERW survivors or survivors injured in previous years.[20] Turkey made statements on victim assistance at the First Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions in November and the Tenth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in December 2010, as well as the Mine Ban Treaty intersessional Standing Committee meetings in June 2011. These statements all referred to the services available at the main military rehabilitation center in Ankara. No reporting addressed progress or challenges in relation to the victim assistance actions of the Cartagena Action Plan. In 2010, Turkey served as one of the co-chairs of the Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on Victim Assistance.

Survivor inclusion

Survivors reported that they were not included in planning or implementation of services relevant to their needs.[21] IMFT held survivor participation meetings during 2010 in Diyarbakır, Mardin, and Şanlıurfa and launched a Turkish Victim’s Network, including survivors and family members, on 24 April 2011.

Service accessibility and effectiveness

Victim assistance activities in 2010[22]

Name of organization

Type of organization

Type of activity

Changes in quality/coverage of service in 2010

Dicle University Research Hospital, Diyarbakir


Orthopedics and traumatology center and the prosthetic center provided civilian survivors with prostheses free of charge

Ongoing; but the number of beneficiaries was unknown

Gulhane Military Medical Academy and the Turkish Armed Forces Rehabilitation and Care Center (TAF-RCC)


Specialized facilities assist people wounded by weapons: rehabilitation, economic and social inclusion, and psychological support

Ongoing high quality services



Advocacy and assistance to individual survivors


No significant changes in the accessibility or quality of services were reported for 2010. Mine/ERW survivors and persons with disabilities in affected areas did not have access to the same level of services as other persons with disabilities in larger cities in Turkey.[23]

All persons with disabilities have the right to access free first-aid services at public and private healthcare centers. Those without social insurance can apply for a special “green card” to be eligible for what were previously free services in 2008. However, in 2010, those persons with disabilities eligible for the “green card” medical insurance still had to contribute to part of their medical expenses, eliminating the availability of free services.[24] Regulations in the Healthcare Application Notice, issued by the Social Security Organization of Turkey, restricted access to medicines, equipment, and mobility devices for persons with disabilities, even when deemed necessary by medical professionals.[25]

Healthcare facilities in towns in the mine-affected region (other than the largest cities) are underfunded, have inadequate staff levels and equipment, and often were not able to address survivors’ emergency or ongoing medical needs.[26] In some cases civilian survivors were evacuated by military aircraft; however, emergency transportation for survivors was not consistent.[27]

Rehabilitation for mine/ERW survivors was limited to centers in Ankara and Dicle. There was a significant need for prosthetics and rehabilitation services to be established locally in provinces (other mine/ERW affected provinces). There was also a need to establish facilities, which could address the needs for child survivors.[28] Holders of the “green card” could only apply for new prostheses every five years, which was detrimental to the rehabilitation of child mine/ERW survivors.[29]

The Dicle University Research Hospital prosthetics center remained the only such center for all mine-affected regions. Financial constraints had prevented survivors from reaching the Dicle University Research Hospital prosthetics center in 2009; with no progress to improve access reported in 2010. Dicle University also had a dedicated research department for disability issues, but it was not fully functional due to a lack of staff.[30]

Institutions promoting social inclusion remained dispersed and weak. Further measures were needed to increase the employability of persons with disabilities in both the public and private sectors, including promotion of alternative methods of employment. In February 2011, amendments were made in the Public Servants Law (657) on the employment quota for persons with disabilities allowing funding for positions to meet the quota, which was not fully implemented by May 2011; and on working conditions. [31]

The Diyarbakir Lawyers’ Bar Association established a new mine commission within the association; the commission was yet to be fully operational as of May 2011. As had been the case with a similar commission that operated until 2007, the new mine commission was to assist survivors in accessing services and compensation through the law 5233 on compensation.[32] However, to receive free legal assistance from Lawyers’ Bar Associations, survivors must pass a means test that excludes even the poorest, if they own any assets, such as a small holding of land for subsistence farming.[33]

Survivors called for a review of the compensation process to ensure timely and appropriate outcomes since often a case expires (after five years) before a decision on compensation is granted.

In early 2011, members of the National Medical Association of Turkey started a group to address mine issues, including advocating for the needs of survivors.[34]

A need for specific policies to address the social support needs of child mine/ERW survivors was identified.[35] No progress was reported.

The Disability Act (2005) states that all existing public buildings and roads, pavements, pedestrian crossings, open and green areas, sports areas, and similar social and cultural infrastructure serving the public must be made suitably accessible for people with disabilities by 2012. However, almost no progress was reported and only a limited pilot project was undertaken.[36] Physical barriers to access to public buildings were a particular problem. Access to basic rights including education, health, social, and public services for persons with disabilities were still critical issues, despite existing legislation.[37]

As a result of a referendum in September 2010, an amendment to the Constitution made positive discrimination in favor of persons with disabilities possible. The Government prepared a draft proposal establishing an anti-discrimination and equality board. There was a strategy paper on accessibility and a related national action plan but these had not been adopted by the end of 2010.[38]

Turkey ratified the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on 28 September 2009.[39]


[1] For 2010, IMFT media monitoring identified at total of 156 casualties (40 killed; 116 injured) in mine/IED and ERW incidents. Of these, 62 were not yet included in the Monitor total for 2010 pending further verification of the means of activation. The media did not consistently identify the type of explosive item, often incorrectly identifying command-detonated IEDs as mines. News reports also focused more on military than civilian casualties, resulting in probable under-reporting of civilian casualties.

[2] Email from Muteber Öğreten, Coordinator, IMFT, 1 April 2010.

[3] Data supplied by Muteber Öğreten, IMFT, 29 June 2009. Of the 2008 casualties, 72 were members of security forces and 28 were civilians.

[4] These casualties were reported as “Casulities [sic] by Explosion of APMs [antipersonnel mines] Laid by PKK/Kongra Gel Terrorist Organization,” and lacked information on other the means of activation and other mine/ERW casualties. Data is therefore considered to be incomplete. Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2010), Form J; and Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2009), Form J.

[5] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2008), Form J.

[6] Melik Duvaklı, “Turkey, in 26 years 1,269 lives victimized by mines,” Zaman Daily, 13 April 2010, www.zaman.com.tr.

[7] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Reports (for calendar years 2006–2010), Form J; response to Monitor questionnaire by the Permanent Mission of Turkey to the UN in Geneva, 31 August 2005; and presentation by Turkey, Standing Committee on Victim Assistance and Socio-Economic Reintegration, Geneva, 13 May 2003.

[8] Email from Ali M. Koknar, President, AMK Risk Management, 5 July 2007; and Ali M. Koknar, AMK Risk Management, “Turkey Moves Forward to Demine Upper Mesopotamia,” Journal of Mine Action, No. 8.2 November 2004, maic.jmu.edu.

[9] Melik Duvaklı, “Turkey, in 26 years 1,269 lives victimized by mines,” Zaman Daily, 13 April 2010, www.zaman.com.tr.

[10] Interview with Tolga Duygun Senior Policy Adviser, Department for European and Foreign Relations, Prime Ministry Administration for Disabled People, Ankara, 5 May 2011.

[11] EC, “Turkey 2010 Progress Report,” Commission staff working document, Brussels, 9 November 2010, pp. 28–29.

[12] Interview with Mehmed Emin Aktar, Head, Diyarbakir Bar Association, Diyarbakir, 25 April 2011.

[13] Interview with M. Raci Bilici, Secretary, Human Rights Association, Diyarbakir Branch, Diyarbakir, 24 April 2011.

[14] The questions on 28 February 2011, by Ufuk Uras, MP for Istanbul, were follow-up to the statement in Parliament of Vecdi Gönül, Minister of Defense, on 2 March, 2010 in which the Minister had reportedly said “Our government, the Government of the Republic of Turkey, has made a commitment to the issues concerning the education of the public living near the mined regions about the risk of mines and providing the mine victims health, social and economic assistance.” (unofficial translation)

[15] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2006), Form J. This referred to the system: “International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems: ICD-10A.”

[16] Prime Ministry Administration for Disabled People, “About us,” www.ozida.gov.tr.

[17] Interview with Sermet Basaran, Head, and Tolga Duygun, Prime Ministry Administration for Disabled People, Ankara, 19 October 2010.

[18] Interview with Ramazan Serin, Head, Local Agenda 21 Disability Department, 24 April 2011.

[19] Notes during Monitor Mission, Diyarbakir and Ankara, 24 April–5 May 2011.

[20] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2010), Form J.

[21] Monitor notes from Workshop of the Turkish Mine/ERW Victims’ Network, Diyarbakir, 23 April 2011.

[22] Notes during Monitor Mission, Diyarbakir and Ankara, 24 April–5 May 2011; interview with Ramazan Serin, Local Agenda 21 Disability Department, 24 April 2011; and Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2010), Form J.

[23] Interview with Ramazan Serin, Local Agenda 21 Disability Department, 24 April 2011.

[24] Email from Ergun Işeri, General Director, Disabled People’s Foundation, 26 March 2009.

[25] Email from Ergün Işeri, General Manager, Association of Persons with Disabilities of Turkey, 16 May 2011.

[26] Interview with Ayse Gokkan, Mayor of Nusaiybin, Nusaiybin, 25 April 2011; and Omer Ay, Nusaiybin Representative, Turkish Victims’ Network, Nusaiybin, 25 April 2011.

[27] Media monitoring for calendar year 2010.

[28] Presentation by Dr. Muhammet Can, Assistant Professor of Forensic Medicine, Department of Forensic Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Yuzuncu Yil, Turkey’s First Review Conference, Diyarbakir, 18 October 2009.

[29] Monitor notes from Workshop of the Turkish mine/ERW Victims’ Network, Diyarbakir, 23 April 2011.

[30] Interview with Ramazan Serin, Local Agenda 21 Disability Department, 24 April 2011.

[31] Email from Ergün Işeri, Association of Persons with Disabilities of Turkey, 16 May 2011.

[32] Mehmed Emin Aktar, Diyarbakir Bar Association, Diyarbakir 25 April 2011. Referring to Law No. 5233 - Law on the Compensation of Damages that Occurred due to Terror and the Fight Against Terrorism (2004).

[33] Monitor notes from Workshop of the Turkish mine/ERW Victims’ Network, Diyarbakir, 23 April 2011.

[34] Arzu Erbilici, MD, Treasurer, National Medical Association, Ankara, 5 May 2011.

[35] Presentation by Dr. Muhammet Can, University of Yuzuncu Yil, Turkey’s First Review Conference, Diyarbakir, 18 October 2009.

[36] EC, “Turkey 2010 Progress Report,” Commission staff working document, Brussels, 9 November 2010, pp. 70–71.

[37] Ibid.

[38] EC, “Turkey 2010 Progress Report,” Commission staff working document, Brussels, 9 November 2010, p. 79; and email from Ergün Işeri, Association of Persons with Disabilities of Turkey, 16 May 2011.

[39] Ratification of the CRPD was approved by the Turkish Parliament on 3 December 2008.