Turkey’s justice minister weighs into Twitter spat over controversial abuse ruling
ISTANBULJustice Minister Bekir Bozdağ shared a lengthy tweet on Aug. 15 discussing a much-criticized recent Turkish Constitutional Court ruling that said not all sexual intercourse of children aged 15 and under amounts to sexual abuse. Foreign officials’ criticism of the ruling has led to tension between Turkey, Austria and Sweden.
In his tweet, Bozdağ said that with its decision Turkey’s top court changed the first and second sentences of the related law’s first article, which used to identify all sexual intercourse of those under the age of 15 as sexual abuse.
Bozdağ said the ruling changed this by removing the phrase “those who have not completed” the age of 15, which means that not all sexual acts committed by those people would be considered abuse.
Recalling Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom’s tweets condemning the ruling, Bozdağ said “if the message was not ill intentioned, it was a statement based on wrong or distorted information because the claims of lack of punishment against actions of sexual abuse against children aged under 15 were unreal and groundless.”
Wallström had tweeted on her official account that the “Turkish decision to allow sex with children under 15 must be reversed.”
The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Aug. 15 had summoned Sweden’s chargé d’affaires in Turkey over Wallstrom’s tweets.
Legal sources have criticized the ruling, saying it favors marriages conducted under the age of legal age of 18 through religious ceremonies, which are not recognized legally in Turkey but are a common practice in rural parts of the country.