A rather strange debate is brewing in the European Union that once again shows these people are not really interested in hard facts and explanations but are "out to get the Turkish government" at all costs.
The Swedish and Austrian authorities have spearheaded accusations against Turkey, which are extremely offensive and incorrect. They should have gone to the trouble of asking their people in Turkey to properly study the laws and developments regarding child abuse, yet it seems either the Swedish or Austrian embassies did not take the trouble to look into the case properly, or their bosses did not bother to read their reports.
So let us put everyone in the picture.
The government, faced with growing cases of child abuse and attacks on women, decided to toughen penalties and within this perspective increased penalties for those who committed sexual crimes against children below the age of 15.
Yet, there have been some odd cases where in the northern Black Sea coastal town of Bafra, two children below the age of 15 were involved in sex, and the boy has been arrested under charges of sexual abuse of a minor. The court handling the case felt that as the two had had sex with the consent of the girl and the boy is also under age, the tough clauses of the law could not be applied to the boy and thus appealed to the Constitutional Court asking for the annulment of the law. The court felt it could not put a boy under the age of 15 who had sex with a girl who consented in the same basket as a mature sexual psychopath who criminally abuses children. The Supreme Court voted with a thin margin of seven to six to annul the law and asked Parliament to enact a new clause in the Penal Code to deal with the situation allowing special clauses for such situations like the one in Bafra. The Supreme Court also ruled that the law would remain in force until the new amendment was passed by Parliament.
Of course, the drawback has been that the courts have not proceeded with their cases regarding the sexual abuse of children below the age of 15 and have preferred to wait for the parliamentary amendment.
So this is a clear case where a clause in the law has to be amended so that justice is properly served. Yet, it has been turned into a weapon against Turkey by some Europeans.
Swedish Foreign Affairs Minister Margot Wallstrom accused Turkey of legalizing sex with children and tweeted on Sunday "Turkish decision to allow sex with children under 15 must be reversed. Children need more protection, not less, against violence, sex abuse."
Turkey also hit out at Austria after an electronic news ticker at Vienna International Airport displayed a Kronen Zeitung newspaper headline saying sexual abuse of children under 15 in Turkey was legal.
Turkey has explained to these people that they are badly mistaken but the European rhetoric on this issue has continued.
It is clear that our public relation efforts in Europe and our response to such incidents should not be limited to the Foreign Ministry responses. An intensive information campaign is of the utmost importance and urgency.
Meanwhile our government has the means to act swiftly to legislate an amendment that rewrites the Penal Code regarding sexual child abuse. Justice Minister Bekir Bazdağ told Daily Sabah this morning that the amendment will be made in October when Parliament returns from summer recess and the tough clauses will remain intact but its application will differ for some specific offenders and special cases.