Erdoğan criticizes mild punishments in domestic violence cases
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has criticized a 13-year court sentence handed down to a man who threw acid at a young woman, Berfin Özek, blinding her in one eye and causing serious burn.
Erdoğan said he asked officials about the case and asked why the suspect received a light penalty. He said he was told that the 13-year jail term was the highest penalty according to the current laws.
"I told them ‘you will seek rights and justice. If you have witnessed your daughter, would you rely on laws? Listen to the voice of your conscience, not the articles between the pages of these laws’," Erdoğan said on Jan. 9, speaking at a ceremony for disabled citizens and youths benefiting from legal protection and being recruited in public institutions.
Casim Ozan Çeltik attacked the 19-year-old Berfin Özek with acid while she was on her way home in January last year in the southern province of Hatay. The two were formerly a couple and Özek said that they broke up because he was violent and had been harassing for a year since the breakup.
Çeltik was arrested after the attack. The indictment accused him of “intentionally attempting to kill,” but the assessment was later changed, and the prosecutor requested a penalty on the charge of “deliberate wounding,” reducing the penalty. The case has been widely criticized on mainstream and social media.
Emphasizing that family institution is the backbone of “national existence,” Erdoğan also criticized the “changing family structures” in Turkey.
“One of the most important requirements of a big and powerful Turkey is to keep the family institution firm and standing,” he said.
“Otherwise, it is inevitable that a society with a disintegrated family institution will be devastated just like a paralyzed body. This is the biggest threat facing Western societies today,” he stated.
Pointing out that the population began to decline when the family institution was disintegrated, Erdoğan said, “Because there is no place for the child in a place where only individuals and their lifestyles are dominant. Therefore, many Western societies will be at risk of being wiped out of the world after a while.”
Turkey, although not as much as in Western society, faces the same threat, he said, adding that the government will make efforts in education and media to embrace the “spirit of family.”
“We see keeping alive and strengthening the family foundation important for our future as important as security and economy,” he said.
Turkey will continue to defend its rights and interests in the region
Turkey's president also said Turkey would continue defending its rights and interests, adding that the country's future and security began far beyond its borders.
Referring to joint plans with Libya to send Turkish troops to the North African country, Erdogan said: "We are in these lands [Libya], where our ancestors made history, because we were invited there to resolve injustice and persecution."
He said Turkey would provide "the best response" to those who did not understand that the country's security began beyond its borders, slamming criticism against the decision.