Child inmates moved amid call for debate following allegations of sexual abuse
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
A bus leaves Pozantı Juvenile Prison. Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin said the transfer of 199 minors from Pozantı to the Ankara Sincan prison began yesterday morning.Authorities began transferring minors from Adana’s Pozantı juvenile prison to Ankara yesterday following allegations of sexual abuse at the facility amid calls by Turkey’s main Kurdish party for a public debate as to why the children were initially incarcerated.
Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin said the transfer of 199 minors from the Pozantı jail in Adana to the Ankara Sincan prison began yesterday morning. Inspectors will complete their investigation over the allegations by the weekend, after which their findings will be shared with the press in detail, said Ergin.
He said Turkey was building facilities to house delinquent kids and that the Sincan prison was currently the most appropriate place to house them. “No one ever promised a paradise. We are trying to do our best given Turkey’s capabilities and the physical capacities at hand.”
The ministry has come under fire for ignoring warnings about mistreatment at the prison. Ergin told reporters that a deputy had claimed in 2010 that children were being beaten there but added that a subsequent enquiry failed to substantiate the allegations.
The co-chair of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), Gültan Kışanak, decried the incident as one of the many ramifications of the Kurdish conflict and demanded the immediate release of the children.
Victims of violence
“We must first ask why these children are in prison. For the past 30 years, there has been a state that is trying to solve the Kurdish issue through violence, burning villages and forcing millions to migrate. These children are not in prison for throwing stones. They are the children of the people who have been subject to violence from the state for the past 30 years,” she said.
“The children must be returned to their families immediately. They have been through enough pain and trauma. Rebellion is not something to be ashamed of. People revolt if they have a sense of justice,” she said.
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli blamed the scandal on the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and said it “would be engraved on the AKP’s brow as an unacceptable moral disaster.”