On December 22, in the southeastern city of Gaziantep, a 4 years old child was attacked by pit bulls. The severely injured child, whose condition remains critical, was taken to the hospital, and 3 people were arrested.

Following the incident, the father of the child Hüseyin Ateş said that he was fired from the building he had been working as a janitor, and they were going to move out of their house as well. Expressing that all he wants for his child to get better, the father said: "I am currently fired from my job. I will also move out of my house owned by my boss, who is also the owner of the dogs who attacked my child."


President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, commenting on the incident, stated that the stray animals do not belong to the streets, and called for municipalities to collect animals from the streets and take them to the shelters. Following his words, a reaction came from the public under the hashtag #SokakHayvanlarıSahipsizDeğildir (Stray Animals are not Deserted). Animals rights advocates expressed their solidarity with the animals living in the streets and emphasized that animal shelters are places where animals are killed.


On December 25, President Eroğan also stated: "These dogs are the dogs of the wealthy. That child is torn into pieces there, they are still trying to deceive the father. But they will pay for it. We will take the father from the place where he worked and direct him to a place where he can work much better. We will not make our citizens ask where this state is."

Erdoğan further said "Take care of your animals White Turks*", which also met with a reaction by the public.


Yesterday (December 27), The Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change sent a circular to the governorships and municipalities of 81 provinces regarding stray and animals 'posing a threat'. According to the circular, it was requested to conduct a 24/7 inspection of the animals 'posing a threat', to confiscate the unclaimed ones, and to take them to animal shelters.

It is also stated that the municipalities that do not fulfill their responsibilities have legal or criminal obligations.

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*White Turks (Turkish: Beyaz Türkler) is a term used in Turkey for the urban population that embraced or directly benefited from Turkey’s modernization, and whose interests have in turn gradually detached from the plight of the greater rural and conservative population.