Mehmet Tüm, a deputy from Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), on Saturday criticized the Turkish Interior Ministry’s decision to increase the amount of ammunition Turkish citizens are allowed to possess or purchase, from 200 to 1,000 rounds in the space of a year.
According to a report by the Hürriyet Daily News, Tüm submitted a parliamentary question to Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Saturday.
“The Interior Ministry is attempting to take this danger even further, instead of controlling individual weapons possession. There is no reason to increase the allowable number of rounds from 200 to 1,000. Today in Turkey, weapons can be bought from the Internet, and murders are being committed with these weapons every day. In such an environment, the Interior Ministry’s decision to increase the allowable amount of ammunition would cause more crime and more murders,” Tüm said during a speech in Parliament.
“Why don’t you start working on restricting weapons possession? Why are you still not blocking the online sale of weapons in the country?” Tüm also asked the interior minister.
“How have you come to the conclusion that ammunition limitations are low? Is any unit in your ministry working on the subject? What is the reason for a five times increase in allowable ammunition purchases? Has any work been done on the hazards that 1,000 rounds could create in terms of national security? Why is there no work being done on restricting the sale and use of firearms?” Tüm also asked.
On March 14 the Interior Ministry issued a circular that allowed civilians to purchase 1,000 rounds of ammunition annually, a fivefold increase over the previous limitation of 200 per year.
Meanwhile, Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül said he had no information on the recent circular during an interview on CNN Türk. A new regulation governing individual gun ownership should be brought to Parliament’s agenda, a parliament spokesperson said on Nov. 7, 2017, amid a growing concern in Turkey over easy access to guns.
Mustafa Baloğlu, the spokesperson for Parliament’s Interior Affairs Commission, urged that criteria be tightened for gun ownership and that background checks for gun purchasers be carried out more carefully.
Some 67,960 people were wounded by gunfire between 2006 and 2015, according to data gathered from a forensic institute by CHP deputy Gamze Akkuş İlgezdi. Some 6,800 people are wounded by guns each year on average, and 18 people are injured on a daily basis.
A total of 106,740 guns were reported to be missing or stolen in 2017, according to an 80-page activity report released on March 1, 2018 by the Interior Ministry, raising concerns over the whereabouts of these guns and their potential illegal use.