Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Child Abuse and Adultery in Turkey

"By enacting legislation on adultery, all of those abuses would be treated within the same scope. This is self-criticism, I must say that in the EU process, we made a mistake. …"
"We should now evaluate preparing legislation about adultery and perhaps consider it together with the issue of harassment and others."
"This society holds a different status in terms of its moral values."
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
The president made the comments to a sobbing young girl dressed as a Turkish solider on a public stage during a live TV appeareanceThe president made the comments to a sobbing young girl dressed as a Turkish solider on a public stage during a live TV appearance

"If she is martyred, a flag will be put on her, God willing."
"She is ready for everything, isn't she?"
"Look what you see here! Girl, what are you doing here? We have our maroon berets here, but maroon berets never cry."
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Justice and Development Party meeting, February 25, 2018
 
"Bringing a little child to the stage in front of thousands of people and blessing death is a big mistake."
"Children should never be in the shadow of weapons and should not be the face of wars."
Veli Agbaba, deputy chairman, Turkish opposition CHP party

"Divorce, drugs, irresponsible pleasure and immoral print and digital publications are as dangerous as terrorism." 
"Laws and legislation should be native and national."
Conservative Turkish columnist Rahim Er
"[The state should not get involved in the lives of people who might have different religious or moral views.]"
"In my opinion, the appropriateness of the relations that two people will engage in with their own will should not be dwelt upon too much."
Kurdish politician Altan Tan, Peoples’ Democratic Party 
Janitor receives record 572-year jail sentence for abusing 18 children in Turkey’s Adıyaman
Turkish janitor, Mehmet Sait Güler, receives record 572 years in prison for abusing 18 children in the student lodging of a religious vocational (imam-hatip) secondary school in the southeastern province of Adıyaman 
Turkey, in the view of its President Erdogan, is a society much superior in its values and treatment of women and children than is the European Union. But when the EU responding to Turkey's wish to join it, persuaded Turkey's political executive to relax some of its punitive laws, the issue of adultery underwent a change in its punishment. The superiority of Islamic Turkey in its treatment of children appears to be alive and well in Erdogan's mind though the truth is neglect and maltreatment of minors is rampant throughout Turkish society. 
 
An issue that came to the fore when it was revealed that one single hospital in Istanbul in less than a five-month period treated one hundred and fifteen girls, 39 of them from Syria for the consequences of the abuse they were subjected to. Among the girls 38 had been impregnated before the age of fifteen, and 77 before turning 18 years of age. Since the age of consent in Turkey is 18 years of age, all instances of pregnancy resulting in girls under age 15 are classified as child abuse.

News coverage of fairly recent vintage highlighting instances of child abuse in Turkey has resulted in a social upheaval of disgust and anger from the public and politicians representing various opposition parties, leading President Erdogan to dispatch six of his ministers to work out more effective administrative and legal measures to deal with child abuse. Harsher penalties such as chemical castration for offenders is one of the options that has garnered much debate.

Might any of the ministers dare to suggest that some form of meaningful penalty be imposed on Recep Tayyip Erdogan for egregious child abuse rivalling that of the Hamas and Islamic State terrorist groups who have excelled in tutoring impressionable children and exposing them to the delights of juvenile terrorism, teaching them the use of explosive devices and lethal arms, and the joys inherent in determined martyrdom? 
 
His initiative in ushering a six-year-old girl onto a public stage before thousands of approving supporters, urging her to aspire toward martyrdom as the highest possible calling, surely rates as child abuse...?

Now, he has embarked on yet another tangent. Rather than tackling the huge and hugely destructive issue of child abuse, he has conflated it with the other issue of adultery. Adultery as a criminal offence to be brought back to its former status in the criminal code alongside capital punishment -- another penalty that failed to find favour with the European Union.

On February 20 Erdogan spoke of his government's decision to work on formalizing harsher penalties for child abuse. In tandem with the crime of adultery.

The conventional wisdom under Turkish law up until 1996 was that a man would be considered adulterous under circumstances proving him to be involved in a prolonged carnal affair reflective of a 'husband-wife' situation, whereas for a woman to be found guilt of adultery she need only be unfaithful or commit a sexual act with a man other than her husband on a single occasion to be considered guilty of that crime.
 
The Turkish Constitutional Court in 1996 cancelled legal articles that regulated adultery for husbands in a situation where the issue was altered for men but remained as it was for women. Finally, two years later the Constitutional Court enabled the cancellation of the adultery articles applicable to women in recognition of unequal application. Which does nothing to address the issue of Turkish men taking on multiple wives.
 
Despite that only one of the wives is recognized as a legal spouse, there is no penalty inherent in a man's status respecting multiple wives and presumably offspring from those relationships, which could also be interpreted as child abuse, but is obviously not meant to be under Turkish law. Turkish women concerned with equality, justice and fairness under the law question the banning of adultery while permitting polygamy.
 
"Will we be able to say that someone who is married to four women is committing adultery?" questioned Canan Gullu, head of the Federation of Women Associations of Turkey. As for combining a law scrutinizing and punishing adultery alongside child abuse, a puzzling decision which may have an inner and unequal agenda under Islamist principles, that will be yet to be seen, commented on, discussed and objected to.
The president was cheered by adoring supporters as he told the girl she will be honoured if she is martyred 
The president was cheered by adoring supporters as he told the weeping six-year-old girl she will be honoured if she is martyred 

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