The children who are still missing from the earthquake-hit areas are most likely unidentified children who are being treated in hospitals under the supervision of the ministry, Turkish Family and Social Services Minister Derya Yanık told state-run Anadolu Agency on Wednesday.
After the 6 February earthquakes, there are still several missing children in Turkey, and recently the claim that unaccompanied children in the earthquake area were kidnapped by sects surfaced.
Deutsche Welle reported on 23 February that nine quake-affected children were taken from their mothers and given to a Quran boarding school under the muftiate but operated by a foundation affiliated with the İsmailağa religious community, which is one of the largest Islamic groups in Turkey.
Yanık stated that they did not receive any information regarding the claim that the children of mothers in need were left to Quran schools.
“We have not received any information until now that mothers deliver their children to Qur’an courses and so on because they were desperate and in need,” said Yanık, adding that the ministry records all applications, notices, children in hospitals, and social media scans regarding the issue of missing children.
The minister noted that unaccompanied children are under their responsibility. She also added that there are many unidentified children whose treatment is currently ongoing in the hospitals.
As Turkey’s religious authority caused public outrage by announcing that Islam allows parents to marry adopted children, many families queued to adopt children who have been left orphaned due to the disaster.
Yanık said that there have been around 350,000 applications from families to protect the children since 6 February when twin earthquakes struck the zone.
However, Republican People’s Party (CHP) Women’s Branch Head Aylin Nazlıaka said they do not believe the minister’s statement and called on the Turkish assembly to conduct research into the issue.
Nazlıaka demanded that the minister answer a series of questions: How many lost children do we have? What are the ages and genders of these children? How many reports have you received from each province? How many children have been handed over to their families?