Turkey: CHP deputies march to the Ministry of Justice

Turkey: CHP deputies march to the Ministry of Justice
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"You are aware of this incident for two years and you keep silent. Thank heavens there are journalists in this country, so we could learn about it," CHP leader has said.

Deputies and senior officials of the main opposition party in Turkey marched on Monday to the headquarters of the Justice Ministry where the party leader made an address in protest of the "silence" of the ministry in the face of an incident of organized pedophilia in the circles of a major religious community.

It recently became public through a journalist's report that a young woman, H.K.G., informed the prosecution two years earlier that she had been placed by her father, a senior member of the religious community, in the hands of a 29-year-old man when she was six years old, and that she has been subjected to sexual abuse, rape and violence throughout her enforced relationship with him, which first took the form of a religious marriage, then a civil one. H.K.G. provided the prosecution not only with several photos showing her with the man, but also a voice recording in which the man admits that he had sexual relation with her since she was very young.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), called the party's parliamentary group to an emergency meeting in the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM) on Monday morning, and after a brief meeting led the group and senior party officials to the Justice Ministry's headquarters in Ankara.

Speaking before the headquarters, Kilicdaroglu criticized the silence on the part of state institutions, saying:

"You are aware of this incident for two years and you keep absolutely silent. Thank heavens there are journalists in this country. We could learn about it thanks to their reporting. We are now in front of the institution that is supposed to serve justice. The ministry of Justice continues to remain silent. Nobody knows what the Ministry of Family is doing."

Kilicdaroglu also criticized the interior minister, who he referred to as the "photo-novel" because of his photos with shady figures including crime bosses.

"And there is also that photo-novel, who has rendered the police helpless. Do not the police know about this incident? Who stops them? Under which excuses have they covered up this case? Who are those who continue to remain silent in the face of the injustice imposed upon a six-year-old child?"

Conflicting remarks by the minister

Derya Yanik, the Minister of Family and Social Services, said on Sunday that they were informed about the case on 2 December, a day before the report on the incident appeared in daily Birgun.

However, Yanik also admitted in the same interview that they had actually received information about the incident two years earlier.

She said:

"We are told that the victim applied to the prosecution on 30 November 2020, and the prosecution referred the case to us (...) We are told that the victim was placed in the ministry's guest house on 8 December 2020."

Yanik also dismissed criticism by the opposition, saying:

"Neither the Republican People's Party, nor the Peoples' Democratic Party have the authority to lecture us on this issue."

She went on to say that CHP officials have been trying to cover up incidents of sexual harassment in a municipal administration.