Turkey says the number of Turkish soldiers that have committed suicide over the past decade exceeds the number of those killed in battles, Press TV reports.
According to statistics released by Turkey’s Parliamentary Human Rights Commission, at least 934 army soldiers have lost their lives due to suicide, while 880 soldiers have been killed on the battlefield during the period.
“During this period, we have lost more soldiers in suicide attacks than we have from fighting terrorism,” said Namik Huwutcu, a Turkish lawmaker from the Republican People’s Party (CHP).
“As members of the parliament, we are tasked to make regulations for all rankings of the military.”
Alper Evrensel, a former soldier and psychiatrist, told Press TV that the high rate of suicides in the Turkish army is due to mandatory military service for male citizens.
“Right now military service in Turkey is mandatory for every citizen. They are subject to ordeals, quite often leading to post-traumatic stress,” Evrensel stated.
“The government should change this law and make the military service voluntary. If the status quo changes, I think, the suicide rate will change as well.”
Reports say post-traumatic stress among Turkish soldiers has been caused by a lasting consequence of traumatic ordeals that bring about intense fear, helplessness or horror.
A number of suicides are likely to have happened due to Turkish forces being insulted and denigrated, either physically or verbally, by superior officers.
Meanwhile, the alarming suicide rate in the Turkish army has led many to recall the post-traumatic stress suffered by the US soldiers in Afghanistan.
According to a report by the US National Public Radio (NPR), the US military has been struggling to deal with the suicide problem since numbers began rising in 2004. This year, the average is nearly one soldier suicide a day.