Siblings of victim of organized pedophilia dismiss her accusations

Siblings of victim of organized pedophilia dismiss her accusations
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Three siblings have said that the photo showing their sister in a wedding gown at the age of six was an ordinary photo taken "on her insistence," and that the media has made up a fake story.

Three siblings dismissed on Thursday their sister's statement to the prosecution in Turkey that she has been incessantly subjected to sexual harassment and rape since she was six years old and that this had actually been allowed and even enabled by her father.

H.K.G. told the prosecution that her father Yusuf Ziya Gumusel, a senior preacher for a major religious community, placed her in the hands of a 29-year-old neighbor, Kadir Istekli, when she was six years old, and that he told her that the man would be her "husband" henceforth, according to a report by Birgun's Timur Soykan who had access to the indictment.

H.K.G. was first subjected to sexual abuse, and eventually to rape in the course of her enforced relationship. A ceremony of "engagement" was held when she was thirteen, and a religious wedding a year later.

When she was taken to a doctor four months after the wedding because of menstruation irregularities, the doctor suspected sexual abuse and referred the case to the police. An investigation was launched by the prosecution, and a bone ossification test was conducted to determine the teenager's age after she suspiciously claimed that she was seventeen. She was allegedly replaced with a 21-year-old woman in the hospital, and the test result said she was 21. The investigation was dropped.

H.K.G. gave birth to a child when she was 17, and had a civil marriage a year later.

She was 22 when she filed criminal charges against her husband and provided the prosecution not only with the photo showing her in a wedding gown at the age of six, or with all other childhood photos showing her beside him, but also a voice recording of her conversation with her husband in which he admitted that "getting married" when she was six was "a total mistake."

Kadir Istekli said in his statement to the prosecution that he "let" H.K.G. say that "she was handed over to him when she was six" and that "she was raped," because "he did not want the issue to turn into a big discussion."

Istanbul Anatolian Chief Public Prosecutor's Office finalized the indictment on 30 October 2022, asking for 27 years of imprisonment for each of the three suspects, Kadir Istekli, and the parents of H.K.G.

While the three siblings said that the photo of H.K.G. showing her in a wedding gown at the age of six was only an ordinary photo taken "on her insistence," they accused the media of making up a fake story and slandering. They also claimed that their sister had psychological problems.

None of the suspects have been arrested so far, and the first hearing of the trial will be held on 22 May 2023.

"It is disturbing that Muslims have been accused"

While Turkey's Presidency of Religious Affairs said in a written statement that "protecting our children from all kinds of violence and abuse is both a social and an institutional duty of the presidency," it added:

"However, it is extremely disturbing that this has been turned into a process in which the issue has been identified with our great religion Islam and the Muslims have been subjected to accusations."