Spotlight: Turks mourn deaths of missing little girls

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ISTANBUL, July 2 (Xinhua) -- A photo of a little girl showing her smiling with beautiful deep blue eyes has been all over in Turkey, dominating news in media for over two weeks.

Leyla Aydemir, a four-year-old girl, was last seen playing outside her grandfather's house 17 days ago in Bezirhane, a small village in Turkey's eastern province of Agri. Her family reported her missing as soon as they couldn't find her.

Local people, gendarmerie, red crescent and private rescue teams have launched a large-scale operation to find the little girl. Expert teams drained the waters in the wells, digged the areas where the soil is soft, and observed crows with binoculars.

"Those who know whereabouts of my daughter, please inform us for God's sake," bemoaned Leyla's father, Nihat Aydemir, last week.

Her mother Sukran Aydemir was in a state of devastation. "Whoever kidnapped my daughter, please bring her back. We will not file a report," she said in tears.

Leyla's grandfather offered 300,000 Turkish lira (65,000 U.S. dollars) to anyone who can find her.

The bad news came on Monday late afternoon. She was found dead three km away from her village, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported. The cause of her death was not immediately clear.

About a week after the disappearance of Leyla, another "missing child" news came from the capital Ankara.

Eylul Yaglikara, an eight-year-old girl, went out to play with her friends in Ankara's district of Polatli where she was spending her holiday with her family.

No one saw her again until her body tortured and sexually abused was found buried under an electric pole on Saturday.

Police arrested Ugur Kocyigit, a neighbor of Yaglikara's family, as a prime suspect and detained four others. Kocyigit still remains silent.

"This was a brutal murder," said Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag. "We will reconsider taking all measures including the introduction of chemical castration against such crimes."

Commenting on the murder of Eylul, Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul said Monday: "As a father, a minister of justice and a lawmaker, it is hard to express my fury about this humiliating incident."

Gul noted the investigation process would result in the quickest time possible and the perpetrator will get the most severe punishment.

Meanwhile, the Turkish people are now expecting good news from a six-year-old boy who went missing in woods in the southeastern province of Hatay on Sunday. Press reports indicated that the boy has a speech impairment.

Ayhan Akcan, a psychiatrist, said families belonging to low-income group of the society couldn't look well after their children and they leave them on their own most of the time.

"There are particular kids like mentally and physically disabled ones or those who are having difficulty in establishing social ties with friends," Akcan said.

"These kinds of children should be considered at risks of abuse. They need special care," he noted.

Akcan urged families, especially those who have multiple children, to closely cooperate with state institutions and ask their help for decent child care.

He also suggested establishing special teams in hospital emergency rooms that will consist of doctors, including psychiatrists and pedagogues, to investigate child incidents from a psychological point of view.

"In case of stuttering, aphasia, and bed-wetting, the case should be treated very seriously as they could be signs of abuse," he said.

According to Akcan, during the judicial phase, the person with pedophilia has to go through a very detailed psychological examination.

"State authorities should also prevent these criminals in prisons from the insults and attacks of other prisoners," he noted.

The Turkish government submitted a draft law on sexual abuse crimes to the parliament in April to increase the upper limit of imprisonment of abusers from 20 to 40 years.

According to the draft law, sexual offenders would be sentenced to 30 to 40 years in jail if they abuse children below the age of 12. The punishment could be up to life imprisonment depending on the use of force and treat.

The courts would also be able to decide to implement chemical castration with an expert report for the sexual offenders starting three-month before their releases from prisons up to five years of duration.

In Turkey, there are 5,000 missing children, according to media reports. Enditem

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