The March Of Silent Shoes

Nazire Dedeman Çağatay
Founder President of Umut Vakfı

September 28 Individual Disarmament Day
Sessiz Ayakkabıların Yürüyüşü 
Taksim Square



Valued Friends,
We are here together at Sessiz Ayakkabilarin Yürüyüşü in which we protest Individual Armament once again. We will remember all those who have lost their lives due to individual armament once again similar to all previous years. Individual armament is a substantial problem in Turkey. Turkey stands 14th among 178 countries with respect to individual armament. We have kept on expressing this as a problem for last 18 years. We are after setting rules to restrict access to guns in gun law outline as an important solution in solving this problem.  Some of the parliament members, who are also members of the internal affairs sub commission, had talked about gun registration as a method to prevent crime for resolution last year. But this doesn’t match up with the actual experiences. For example the registered gun belonging to the village headman, which was fired into the air by  village headman’s nephew during a wedding, killed Damla.  After a year had passed since Damla was murdered, another unregistered gun fired into the air in another wedding in the same village took Sevgi away from her children and husband. The result s are the same for this and all other similar incidents, Whether registered or unregistered, guns spread death. Therefore, access to guns shall be restricted and it shall be tightly controlled. 
I made an attempt to provide a summary of the most recent armed violences in Turkey. So we requested some information from governorships of 81 cities and finally the Ministry of Internal Affairs  to obtain the most reliable information regarding this subject. No matter how disappointing the results are, these statistics play an important role in making the most proper laws according to social structure in Turkey and determining the measures that shall be taken in this regard. However, they weren’t able to provide the requested information since the "information system and data standard renewal procedure" is still continuing in the police headquarters. Therefore, we decided to conduct a research based on the 3rd page news  from all over Turkey that are published in Umut Vakfi web site and we obtained the following results: 
• Number of armed violences has approximately doubled in ten years. Number of violence news published in the press increased by approximately fifty percent during last two years. This indicates that although we had lost about 3,000 individuals to armed violence incidents in 2009 this number may have increased to 4,500 in recent years. 
• High rate of armed violence incidents happen among family members and relatives. 
• 42.7% of the armed violence incidents are results of momentary rage. 
• Approximately half of the incidents has happened in the streets open to public. 
These incidents indicate that as a population we get angry easily, we attempt to use our guns fast and we aim our guns at our relatives in the streets. According to the information provided by Eurostat, the European Union Statistics Office, Turkey stands third with respect to murder rates. This means that Turkish Population use guns to "kill". Guns are used as a solution to dissolve disputes, but using guns kills any This is totally clear. Advance warnings to those members of the parliament, who will work on the legislature during the new period: We would like you to attentively work on the resolutions while considering these facts. 
We understood the following from the responds to our letters that were sent to new session parliament members: Our female parliament members will follow up on this subject. This satisfied us a lot. The necessary sensitivity and awareness have been risen regarding this subject. Therefore, we are looking up to works regarding gun resolution during the new session. 
90% of the guns are possessed by males, but the results are fatal for females. In order to reduce the risk of fatal violence towards women laws against domestic violence and use of arms have been put into effect in some countries in the world. The purpose of this regulation is to prevent those with domestic violence background from using guns.  For example, Canada has reported 15% decrease in the ratio of general armed violences and 40% decrease in the ratio of armed violence against women 10 years after this reform came into effect.  The same inclination was observed in Australia. 
It is clear that the regulation regarding firearms, which is not complied with at all, shall be reviewed in this new legislative session. We shall also consider the results of the armed violence in our society when reviewing the regulation. We shall set the parliamentary bills so that they would prevent armed violence and we shall take advantage of good examples in the world in this respect. We believe that we will receive great support from our parliament members and particularly our female parliament members regarding this subject.
We believe that official acknowledgment of September 28 the Individual Disarmament Day in our country will play an important role and is necessary for changing the social mentality regarding this subject and the cultural perception with respect to individual armament in the society. 
All members of the society owe it to the society to apologize to all those who have lost their lives due to individual armament. We owe an apology to their loved ones that are left behind.  We have to fulfill our liabilities as citizens, who are aware of their responsibilities, and we shall say "No" to individual armament. This is our duty. I appreciate all those who fulfilled their responsibilities as citizens by participating in this protest.  I wish an unarmed world for all of you.
With a wish for great futures...