Turkish government promotes Islamist practices in law on child sexual abuse

A new law on sexual abuse includes the separation of sexual abuse into two categories: 'crimes against individuals under 12 years old' and 'crime against individuals over 12 years old'
Wednesday, 28 February 2018 21:28

Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya, the Minister of Family and Social Policies, announced that the Turkish government would introduce a new regulation in order to punish and prevent sexual abuse at the end of this month. The government's new law will include the punishment of those guilty of sexual abuse against "children under 12 years old" with penal servitude.

Kaya's statements have been criticized, with critics questioning why the government is proposing penal servitude only for the sexual abuse of children under 12 while Turkish law considers all individuals under 18 years as children.

In Quran, the "age of marriage" coincides with puberty. Classical Islamic law (Sharia) does not have a marriageable age because there is no minimum age at which puberty can occur. 

With the AKP government's new law, the punishments of sexual abuse against children above the age of 12 will be mitigated.


Abdülkadir Selvi, a pro-government columnist of writing for the daily Hürriyet, wrote an article on Feb. 26 stating that "The Turkish government would bring the principle of confidentiality to sexual abuse with the new regulation".

Selvi noted that the new law on sexual abuse separates sexual abuse into two categories: 'crimes against individuals under 12 years old' and 'crime against individuals over 12 years old'.

Turkey's Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), an institution under the prime minister's office, in January stated that the minimum age of puberty is 9 in girls, and 12 in boys. "Diyanet implements only one law, Allah's laws, while giving a fatwa," Bekir Bozdağ, the spokesperson of the AKP government, said.

According to Selvi, government officials consider fornication in terms of family integrity. In this context, the Turkish government will also introduce a regulation on fornication, but it is not clear yet whether it will be in the same package as the laws on sexual abuse.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last week said that his government may criminalize adultery with a new legal motion aiming to equate adultery with child abuse, stating "We should regulate adultery and perhaps consider it alongside the issue of harassment."

Hamdi Kavillioğlu, the AKP's provincial mufti to the southern province of Hatay, had previously claimed, "girls can be married between 9-15 years of age, and boys between 12-15", grounding his words in Islam.

The Communist Party of Turkey said in a statement "We remind once again: Child abuses and molestations cannot be prevented without unveiling their relation to the ever increasing reactionism in the last fifteen years. This rule that constantly attacks the women and children cannot prevent molestations. Reactionism cannot create social value!"