Law to increase sentences for sexual abuse of minors in Turkey
ANKARAThe Turkish Justice Ministry has sent a judicial reform package to the Prime Ministry including heavier penalties for sexual abuse of minors and graded sentences in accordance with the age of the victim.
According to the changes, the lower limit of jail sentences for molesting children under the age of 12 will be increased from three to five years, the lower limit of jail sentences for sexually abusing children under 12 will be increased from eight to 10 years, and the lower limit of jail sentences for those guilty of major sexual abuse against children under 12 will be increased from 16 to 18 years.
A top Turkish court decision to annul a legal article on the sexual abuse of children triggered a broad debate on the matter last month.
In the Turkish Penal Court, sexual-related crimes against children were regulated under Article 103, which covers children’s sexual abuse. In this article’s first section, all sexual actions committed against children under the age of 15 are identified as “sexual abuse.” The Constitutional Court annulled this clause of the law, saying it would enter into force six months after it was published in the Official Gazette. The decision was announced on July 13, and therefore the deadline will expire on Jan. 13, 2017.
Amid the debate, which also led to a diplomatic spat between Turkey and Sweden, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ announced that the sentences would be made even higher.
The new package also includes several other changes, including heavier penalties against telephone fraudsters. The Justice Ministry seeks a minimum jail term of four years for those found guilty of telephone fraud by posing as officials such as prosecutors, judges, bank employees or police officers.