Citizens living in the Black Sea region of Turkey have reacted strongly to a report announced by Health Minister Recep Akdag which maintains that cancer cases in the country have not been affected by the nuclear accident in Chernobyl. Some of strongest reactions to the announcement by Akdag came from the family of musician Kazim Koyuncu, who lost his life earlier due to cancer.
Said Kazim Koyuncu's brother, Oguz Koyuncu, "In Hopa, one out of every three deaths is due to cancer. With the situation like that, for a minister to say 'Cancer deaths in the region are the same as the average across the country' is incredible."
The musician's brother went on:
"My brother died because of cancer. My father and sister are currently being treated for cancer. In a family of six, we have the cancer patients. It is not just us, but many people in the region are afraid to go to the doctor. Our fear is not of death, but of cancer."
"Chernobyl is not the only factor"
"Despite everything, we are not saying that Chernobyl is the only reason. But we protest the comment that the region's cancer rates are the same as the average across Turkey. Are we exaggerating cancer, this thing which has entered the daily lives of people here, defining their daily lives and their culture? Are we exaggerating the reality of this disease which is responsible for filling the graveyards? With this many people who have cancer now, people who have never in their lives smoked cigarettes, who live far from the cities on fields in the country, you cannot expect us to believe this report."