Hatay Security Directorate accepts existence of missing children after quakes

Despite previous government assertions denying the presence of missing children, the Turkish police requested an investigation to be conducted in schools in Hatay province regarding the 26 children who went missing after the Feb. 6 earthquakes.

Duvar English

Hatay Provincial Directorate of Security on Feb. 8 sent a letter to the Provincial Directorate of Education titled "About Missing Children Due to the Earthquake" and requested to investigate whether there were any records of missing children in schools, according to the reporting of the daily BirGün.

More than a year after the Feb. 6 earthquakes that killed 53,537 people according to official reports, families have been still searching for missing relatives. According to the Association for Solidarity with Relatives of Earthquake Victims and Missing Persons (DEMAK), there were reports of 38 children who have not been heard from since the earthquake.

Deputy Provincial Police Chief sent a letter to the schools regarding the missing reports that they have received since the earthquakes and said, “I request information on whether there are any records of the stated missing children in schools affiliated with our Education Ministry in our province or nationwide.”

Family and Social Services Minister Mahinur Özdemir Göktaş has previously said, "I declare once again that there is not a single one of our children missing after the earthquakes,” and denied the families' call for action.

Following the letter from the police, Provincial Directorate of Education on Feb. 12 also sent a letter to district education directorates informing them about the investigation with a list of 26 missing children

The official letter concerning the 26 missing children provided details such as the names and birth dates of the children. Among those inquired about their school registration status, two children were born in 2022 while some children bear the same surname.