Turkey establishes commission to investigate deaths by cyanide poisoning

Turkey’s Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy announced on Friday that a special commission has been set up to investigate the recent family deaths by cyanide poisoning, Sabah daily reported

The announcement came after three incidents of cyanide poisoning over the last 10 days that have left 11 people in three families dead.

Turkish police early Friday found the dead bodies of Bahattin Delen and Zübeyde Delen and their six-year-old son in Istanbul’s Bakırköy district.

Last week, four siblings - two women and two men - aged between 48 and 60 in Istanbul’s Fatih district committed collective suicide by using cyanide. 

Another family of four - father Selim Şimşek (36), his children Ceren (9) and Ali Çınar (5) and wife Sultan Şimşek (38) - were found dead in their home in Turkey’s southern province of Antalya on Saturday with a note by the father citing financial difficulties and unemployment.

“An inquiry commission has ben set up by our Ministry to investigate the incidents and their effects. We will share the findings of the investigation in a detailed report,” the ministry said.

The ministry also called on Turks to avoid sharing visual materials of related incidents. 

Fahrettin Altun, the communications director of the Turkish presidency, also urged the media to be sensitive when reporting suicides by using cyanide, saying that the press should avoid using the term “collective suicide”. Altun on Twitter shared a list of principles should be followed by the media when reporting such incidents. 

Officials of several ministries will gather on Tuesday to discuss the suicides by using cyanide, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Saturday. 

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) have also demanded a special parliamentary inquiry commission be established to examine the recent incidents. 

“It is obvious that a legal framework is needed to prevent the online selling of cyanide and other chemical substances,” Sevda Erdan Kılıç, a lawmaker of the CHP, said in her parliamentary motion. 

The Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Friday that the Turkish authorities would take steps over the selling of cyanide by online shopping sites.  

Habertürk news site reported on Friday that some 555 people searched the word cyanide on Google in the last 24 hours. The news site said some e-commerce companies had removed cyanide from their websites after reports in the Turkish media.