News / Europe

    Turkish Public Decries Plan to Round Up Stray Dogs

    A member of 'PETA' (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animal) shouts slogans during a demonstration in front of  the Turkish embassy in Berlin, Germany, May 22, 2008, demanding an end to what PETA says is the inhumane and violent methods of culling stray dogs in Turkey.
    A member of 'PETA' (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animal) shouts slogans during a demonstration in front of the Turkish embassy in Berlin, Germany, May 22, 2008, demanding an end to what PETA says is the inhumane and violent methods of culling stray dogs in Turkey.
    Dorian Jones
    People have taken to the streets by the thousands in Istanbul over the last few weeks.  But the city that straddles Europe and Asia is upset not about its economy or its national politics. Turks are enraged about plans to round up stray dogs.

    Thousands of people marched through the center of Istanbul holding placards saying leave our animals alone. The October protest was the largest in support of animal welfare that Turkey has ever seen.

    This demonstrator said Gandhi had a very important saying - that you can evaluate the culture of society by its treatment of animals. He said he believes this law will be abolished soon.

    The protest was against government-proposed legislation to remove stray animals from the streets and place them in sanctuaries outside towns and cities. But the proposal has been met with deep skepticism and suspicion by animal rights groups who fear it will be the first step toward the animals' destruction.

    Katja Eldek of the animal rights group Hayvan Seviler points out that in Istanbul alone, there are an estimated 100,000 to 200,000 stray dogs.

    "We just don’t see where the government is going to find enough resources or even employees, qualified veterinarians, to look after these animals once they have them in these natural habitats," said Eldek. "We wanted legislation that would actually look after these animals, rather than what they are doing at the moment, which is signing their death certificate."

    Protests against the government proposals have gone from the streets to the Internet.  This ad calls on people to protect street dogs. The size of the street protests, which occurred across the country and drew people from all sections of society, appeared to take the government by surprise.

    Withdrawing the legislation

    Minister of Forestry and Water Works Veysel Eroglu said lawmakers are withdrawing the legislation for further consideration. He insisted the government has the animals' interests at heart.

    He said Turkey's prime minister says animal rights are very important and that he has asked to revise and improve the regulation. Eroglu said we must all love animals because they too are living creatures. He said we must love them because God created them.

    The minister said the proposed law aims to comply with European Union standards.  But the proposal to round up street dogs has stirred up memories of a dark event in Istanbul’s past.

    Past practice

    The scene is from a recent short film about when the rulers of Ottoman Turkey in 1910 rounded up all of Istanbul’s street dogs and placed them on an island just outside the city. The thousands of dogs with no food to eat ended up eating each other. At the time, there was a public outcry, and it to this day it remains a well-known and shameful story.

    Animal rights activist Eldek said the events of 1910 are a factor behind the strong reaction against the government proposal.

    "It's written in history, and it does bring back memories. But the problem of stray animals is not something we are supporting.  We don’t want the animals living on the streets if we can avoid it," Eldek said. "But there are different things the government can do for this, one of which is a catch-neuter-and-return policy, which is in action at the moment, to kind of make sure this is a widespread policy that is being obeyed all over Turkey."

    Street dogs have been a part of Istanbul for centuries. In the 19th century, charities existed to provide food and water for them.  The scale of public support for street dogs, observers say, has led to a rare event of the government withdrawing legislation, albeit temporarily, for what it calls consultation. But animal rights groups expect the legislation to be reintroduced early next year and are already preparing for new protests.

    You May Like

    Republicans Struggle With Reality of Trump Nomination

    Despite calls for unity by presumptive presidential nominee, analysts see inevitable fragmentation of party ahead of November election and beyond

    Spanish Warrants Point to Russian Govt. Links to Organized Crime

    Links to several Russians, some of them reputedly close Putin associates, backed by ‘very strong evidence,’ Spanish judge says

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    Iraq needs stable, central government to push back against Islamic State, US says, but others warn that Baghdad may not have unified front any time soon

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: rgw46 from: usa
    December 21, 2012 6:30 PM
    The scene is from a recent short film about when the rulers of Ottoman Turkey in 1910 rounded up all of Istanbul’s street dogs and placed them on an island just outside the city. The thousands of dogs with no food to eat ended up eating each other. At the time, there was a public outcry, and it to this day it remains a well-known and shameful story.


    mmmmm..sounds like an idea for all the NUTS..thta do not want to get along..I will also include ALL politicians in ALL countries..

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora