Will Turkey be shaken by the pregnancy scandal?
The news broken by daily Hürriyet journalist Dinçer Gökçe has devastated our minds, our beliefs and our conscience.
Within a five-month period, 115 children below the age of 18 entered İstanbul’s Kanuni Sultan Süleyman Training and Research Hospital because they were pregnant.
Some 38 of them were younger than 15 years-old and 39 of them were Syrians.
Although legally obliged to notify the authorities of pregnant minors younger than 18 years-old, the hospital has shelved the reports of these 115 children.
A heroic hospital employee notified the prosecutor’s office.
When the prosecutor’s office tried to receive official permission from the governor to launch an investigation, the answer was “there is no need.”
Who will be held responsible?
Who do you think will be held responsible? Obviously the hero who officially reported on this disgrace. What else would you expect?
An enquiry has been launched into that employee, who has already changed work place twice.
Some of the pregnant children were born in 2003. Is there no shame?
I have one objection to Dinçer Gökçe’s well-written news article: “A shame list that will shake Turkey.”
My objection is this: I really do not think Turkey will be shaken at all.
Not even a leaf will shake
Some 387 children were victims of abuse in 2017. But these are only the cases that appeared in the press. No-one was ashamed or shaken.
Murders of women saw a 25-percent rise in 2017. Some 409 women were murdered in the course of the year. Once again, no-one was ashamed or shaken...
Terrorism, human rights violations, journalists in jail, tense politics, a fragile economic situation.... These issues also ought to shake society. But what impact have they actually had on the mindset of the average citizen?
Take daily Cumhuriyet journalist Emre Deveci’s interview with tax expert Ozan Bingöl.
The moment we wake up and turn on the tap we start paying five taxes simultaneously, according to Bingöl.
With his humorous, incisive tweets, and “our huge tax drama” as a motto, Bingül has become a social media phenomenon. His statements are indeed astounding.
“In 2016, 740,000 institutions paid 43 billion liras in tax. Wage-earners paid 59 billion liras. The true tax champions in this country are the ones who pay directly from their wages, namely, wage-owners. In Germany a worker on minimum wage can buy a Volkswagen 1600cc (1.6) car within 19 months. He works 17 months for the car, two months for the tax. In Turkey it takes the minimum wage worker 111 months to buy the same car. He works 58 months to pay for the car and 53 months for the tax.”
Are we shaken?
Let’s listen to Ozan Bingöl again.
“In 2017 the OECD average in indirect taxes stood at 35 percent. In Turkey this figures came to 67 percent. We are among the worst countries. It began in 1980s, the more citizen appeared apathetic, the more executives went ahead with taxes. At 28 percent, Turkey ranks first among OECD on informal economy.”
The society that does not “question public spending, that feels financial numbness” lives as if under a “financial anesthesia,” according to Bingöl.
This is not just financial numbness.
People’s minds and conscience are also under anesthetic.