Judicial board launches investigation into child abuse case amid public outrage
Turkey’s Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) has launched an investigation into the Elmalı Trial, a child sexual abuse case in the southern province of Antalya’s Finike district and that has caused massive nationwide anger.
“No one can tolerate the sexual abuse toward our children in any way. The judicial process continues. We are following the process closely and carefully, and we take every precaution appropriate to the sensitivity of the process,” Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül said, adding that the HSK has launched an investigation on the matter.
Condemnation posts flooded social media outlets on June 29 after the drawings of two children depicting their abuse were leaked in what has come to be known as the Elmalı Trial, named after the district where the trial was held.
Social media users vented their frustration at the verdict, which ruled for the release of the children’s mother and stepfather, who were accused of physical and sexual abuse as well as selling their children into non-consensual “sex.”
The case began in May 2020, when the grandmother of two children, aged seven and 10, filed a legal case, claiming that her grandchildren were abused by their mother, their uncle and their stepfather in 2019.
The children have testified under the supervision of pedagogues and experts as part of a procedure that encourages children to draw a sketch of the crime they were subject to if they are unable to speak.
The survivors drew pictures detailing the abuse they endured.
After concrete evidence regarding the abuse, the two were arrested in October 2020 by the court, but were released on judicial control three months later in January 2021.
The Elmalı Prosecutor’s Office said on June 29 it had rejected the ruling, calling for the perpetrators’ release, but the court had contested the decision and scheduled the next hearing in the case to September.