Swedish Foreign Minister Wallström stands by controversial Turkey sex abuse tweets
REUTERS photoSwedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström has stood behind her recent tweets claiming that Turkey recently legalized sex with children, which led to diplomatic tension between Ankara and Stockholm.
It is good that messages posted on her Twitter account led to a discussion with Turkey, Wallström told Swedish broadcaster STV, Russian news website Sputnik’s Turkish version reported on Aug. 17.
“In every part of the world, children need more legal protection, more help and support. Our government stands exactly behind this. This is also the reason behind my Tweet,” Wallström was quoted as saying by Sputnik.
“It was really concerning to see the Constitutional Court ruling, which we believe that will really weaken the children rights’ protection,” she added.
“I have welcomed that it has started to be discussed how the legal procedure - which Turkey has also been reviewing and which we hope will not weaken the protection of children’s rights – should have been. This is being thoroughly discussed by a lot of organizations in Turkey too. That is why, in my opinion, it is good that it has happened,” Wallström said.
Turkey’s top court in July annulled a provision punishing as “sexual abuse” all sexual acts involving children under the age of 15, responding to a petition brought by a lower court. The legal age of consent in Turkey remains 18 and was not affected by the ruling. But the ruling drew a furious response from activists worried that it would open the path for unpunished child sexual abuse.
Following the controversy, Turkey’s Constitutional Court on Aug. 15 annulled the related article on technical legal grounds.
Wallström meanwhile noted that Sweden has long had good relations with Turkey and she had explained the content of her statement on the issue to Turkish Ambassador to Sweden Kaya Türkmen.
“This [incident] will not change our political stance. We haven’t given up on Turkey. On the contrary, we have been planning to resume our active foreign policy on Turkey, both in our bilateral relations and also through the EU,” she added.