Territory: 783,562 km²
Population: 76.7 million
Estimated contaminated area: min. 214.74 km²
Mine Situation in Turkey
Turkey is amongst the 10 most mine contaminated countries in the world. The mines in Turkey were laid by the Turkish authorities themselves to protect the country borders. The first mines were laid between 1956 and 1959 at the borders with Syria, Armenia, Iran, and Iraq. The goal was to prevent people from crossing the boarders illegally. Furthermore, during the conflict with the Kurdistan Worker´s Party (PKK) between 1984 and 1999 the Turkish authorities mined once again the Syrian border to prevent PKK rebels from reaching their camps in Syria.
Additional landmines were also used in the borders with Greece, Bulgaria and Georgia, but these have already been cleared.
While the locations of the mines were initially marked, the maps are considered inaccurate and cannot be trusted by the demining organisations. Therefore, the demining process is much longer and requires more resources, then expected.
Official reports show that there have been 6,360 landmine and explosive remnants of war (ERW) casualties since 1984. Many casualties, however, were never reported, thus the real figures are much higher.
In 2003, the Turkish government signed the Mine Ban Treaty, and committed itself to become mine-free by the end of 2014. Turkey has not been able to meet such goals and has requested an extension. The government plans to clear all mined areas by 2022.
DEMIRA in Turkey
DEMIRA carried out a survey in order to determine more precisely the exact delimitations of the mined areas in Turkey. With the help of local authorities many mined areas were identified and plan of action for mine clearance projects was developed.