Article on sexual abuse of minors ‘annulled on technicality’: Turkey’s Constitutional Court
ANKARAAn article on sexual abuse actions committed against children under the age of 15 has been annulled on technical legal grounds, Turkey’s Constitutional Court said in a statement released on Aug. 15.
“The decision for the annulment of the Constitutional Court did not imply a categorical decriminalization of the sexual abuse actions committed against young children under 15 years of age,” the statement read, adding that the need to issue the press release had arisen since “it was observed that some foreign media organs made intentional news by distorting” the decision of the Constitutional Court dated May 26, 2016, “in seeking to defame the country.”
“Despite the allegations, sexual abuse actions committed against young children aged under 15 years were not decriminalized with the aforementioned decision,” adding that the rule was annulled on technical legal grounds,” it read.
The Constitutional Court announced the decision that the provision for an annulment be put into effect after six months from the date in which it is published in the Official Gazette.
“Thus, it was decided that the provision for the annulment be put into effect after six months from the date when it is published in the Official Gazette so that a legal gap does not occur as a consequence of the annulment,” it said.
“Sexual abuse actions against children will not be decriminalized and will not go unpunished, and the legislative body will be provided the opportunity to make a new regulation within the scope set out in the grounds,” it said, adding that six-month period in question went into effect on July 13.
Noting that sexual abuse committed against children under the age of 15 continued to be criminal acts, the Constitutional Court said it had been “provided the opportunity to make a new regulation addressing some technical problems stated in the annulment decision within the prescribed period.”
Also on Aug. 15, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ shared a lengthy tweet discussing the much-criticized ruling, as foreign officials’ criticism of the ruling has led to tension among Turkey, Austria and Sweden.
In his tweet, Bozdağ said that with its decision, Turkey’s top court changed the first and second sentences of the related law’s first article, which used to identify all sexual intercourse of those under the age of 15 as sexual abuse.
Bozdağ said the ruling changed this by removing the phrase “those who have not completed” the age of 15, which means that not all sexual acts committed by those people would be considered abuse.