Press Release as to the Scandalous Remarks by Swedish Foreing Minister on Child Abuse Law

PRESS RELEASE AS TO THE SCANDALOUS REMARKS BY SWEDISH FOREIGN MINISTER ON CHILD ABUSE LAW

15 August 2016

On 14 August 2016 the Minister of the Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Margot Wallström posted a message on her Twitter account stating that “Turkish decision to allow sex with children under 15 must be reversed. Children need more protection, not less, against violence, sex abuse”. This statement is an allegation that is based on misinformation, and groundless, intentional and not compatible with the truth.

In Article 103 § 1 entitled “Sexual Abuse of Children” of the Turkish Criminal Code no. 5237, it has been established that any person who abuses children, who are under the age of fifteen or those attained the age of fifteen but lack of the ability to understand the legal consequences of such act, shall be sentenced to an imprisonment “from eight years to fifteen years”. According to Article 103 § 2 of the same code, in case of performance of sexual abuse by inserting an organ or instrument into a body of a victim in question, the offender is sentenced to “a term of imprisonment no less than sixteen years”..

In the judgment dated 12 November 2015 (docket no. 2015/26 and judgment no. 2015/100), the Constitutional Court decided to annul Article 103 § 2 of the Code no. 5237 on the ground that it was against the principle of the rule of law as enshrined in Article 2 of the Constitution. This judgment was published in the Official Gazette dated 11 December 2015 and no. 29559. However, the related article of the Criminal Code is still in force due to the fact that the annulling judgment has been decided to come into force 1 year after its publication in the Official Gazette.

Similarly, in the judgment dated 26 May 2016 (docket no. 2015/108 and judgment no. 2016/46), the Constitutional Court decided to annul the first and the second sentences of Article 103 § 1 of the Code no. 5237 on the ground that they were against the Constitution. The judgment was published in the Official Gazette dated 13 July 2016 and no. 29769. However, the related article of the Criminal Code is still in force due to the fact that the annulling judgment has been decided to come into force 6 months after its publication in the Official Gazette.

The annulling judgments of the Constitutional Court are to come into force on 11 December 2016 at the earliest. No legal gap exists as to imposing punishment on persons who sexually abuse children. Any legal gap is to be prevented to appear through new legal regulations within the period set by the Constitutional Court.

As of the current situation, the articles prescribing punishment for the acts of child sexual abuse are still in force, and the allegations that the persons who sexually abuse children under the age of 15 go unpunished in Turkey are completely unsubstantial and baseless.