Constitutional Court has repealed an article of the Turkish Criminal Code where any kinds of sexual approach towards children under 15 were deemed as abuse and subject to imprisonment between 8 to 15 years.
Commenting over this decision to BirGün, the lawyer of the Gündem Çocuk Derneği (Children's Agenda Foundation) Şahin Antakyalıoğlu said, “It’s out of the question for children under 15 to give a declaration of will. Giving a verdict by saying that ‘this 13-14 years old child had consent and did it willingly so I don’t want to charge this perpetrator with 8 to 15 years in jail’ would be explicitly against international norms. The members of the Constitutional Court cannot decide over the impact of a deed on a 4 years old or a 14 years of child, by sitting around their desks.”
Giving further remarks about the likelihood of rises in forced marriages in sexual harassment and rape cases, Antakyalıoğlu stated, “This decision is one of the worst things that could be done towards children. According to the 90th article of the Constitution, the international treaties signed regarding human rights and children’s rights are above all. When there is a controversy, international treaties come in practice. International treaties have not been signed just as decorative plants. In the İstanbul Convention, it is underlined that early and forced marriages must be prevented. It is openly indicated that all children who are forced to get married are the children that must get protection under the Child Protection Law. Turkey is not protecting children in accordance with this law. Rather, there are children’s rights abuses carried out collectively.”
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