Turkish government to impose ‘harshest penalties,’ new measures for child abusers
Speaking at the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s parliamentary group meeting in the capital Ankara, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Feb. 20 that six ministers were working on the issue and will submit their proposals on the issue soon.
“Deterrence will be achieved by adopting the harshest penalties. There can be no delay in the tackling of these issues. Those who commit these crimes must be excluded from the possibility of reduced sentences. Wounds inflicted in society are the same as killing a person. The penalties given to such crimes should be in line with our feelings. We’ll resolve this issue at the soonest possible date,” Erdoğan said.
Raising awareness about child abuse was also discussed at length during the Feb. 19-dated cabinet meeting, he added.
Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül also said on Feb. 20 that legal steps were being taken against the increase in child abuse, and the government was considering introducing chemical castration for child sex offenders, by putting in place the relevant regulations in a couple of days.
“We wish to enact the measure of reducing and suppressing the sexual drive with chemicals during the punishment execution period, as per a court decision, within a few days,” Gül said.
Erdoğan and Gül’s comments came after Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said a day earlier that a commission would be set up to tackle child abuse cases.
Following the cabinet meeting in Ankara, Bozdağ said on Feb. 19 that a commission for the protection of children was being set up with the involvement of six ministries.
“The aim of the commission is to review all current measures regarding the issue of our children’s protection, to work on what more can be done from now on to achieve a more effective protection, and to submit a report to the government on what should be done legally and administratively,” Bozdağ said.
“Every issue, especially the increase in penalties, will be handled individually, and what should be done will be listed in a report. The issues that require a legal arrangement will be enacted in parliament,” he also said, emphasizing that additional penalties might be on the way for crimes committed against children under the age of 12.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu also commented on the issue on Feb. 20 during his party’s weekly parliamentary group meeting, similarly calling for the heaviest punishment for child abuse cases.
“I said two weeks ago that [a CHP government] would introduce the harshest penalties for child abuse cases. The government has only today initiated work on this,” he said.
“[If CHP is elected] we’ll ensure social peace. Your children will only stay in state school dormitories, we’ll not hand them over to private dormitories. Within one year [of the CHP coming to office], no student will say ‘I don’t have a dormitory to stay in,’” Kılıçdaroğlu added.
Meanwhile, CHP deputy Gülay Yedekci submitted a proposal to parliament calling for an investigation into the issue of sexual abuse.
Yedekci’s proposal claimed that only five percent of rape cases actually emerge into the light, while the other 95 percent remain “hidden.”
“The cases of child abuse in our country have increased by 700 percent in our country. They now exceed 300,000 per year,” she said.