Backing new legal measures against child abusers, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says child abuse leads to society's collapse.

Ankara has been mulling chemical castration for child abusers, following a series of reports of sexual assault on children.
Ankara has been mulling chemical castration for child abusers, following a series of reports of sexual assault on children. (AFP Archive)

Chemical castration of child abuse offenders is one of the measures being worked on by Turkey's justice ministry in a bid to reduce sex offence crimes against children.

Turkey's Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul said on Wednesday that the government would take any measures that need to combat the increase in child abuse, and the ministry was working on enforcing chemical castration for offenders.

Gul said that under the measures being considered, the courts would decide whether people convicted of sexually assaulting minors would be administered drugs to "eliminate" their sexual drives.

His comments came a day after the government decided to set up a committee to tackle child sex abuse cases.

Turkey introduced a measure to chemically castrate those convicted of sex crimes in 2016, but the country's highest administrative court, the Council of State, stopped its implementation last August, saying its definition and limit were "vague."

Working on implementation

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also said on Tuesday that new administrative measures and legal regulations against child abusers would be implemented soon.

Speaking to the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party’s parliamentary group meeting in capital Ankara, Erdogan said six ministers were working on the issue.

The ministers would submit their proposals on the issue in a very short time to the premier and the president following which the government was going to take immediate steps on imposing new administrative and legal measures, he said.

Raising awareness about child abuse was also discussed at length during a cabinet meeting, he said.

"We have started work on increasing awareness on this issue by using all channels, from families to schools, as well as eliminating gaps in the law and its implementation," he added.

The president said child abuse cases, which had increased in recent times, was a dynamite that "would lead to the collapse of our society."

"It is our responsibility to safeguard the innocent [children] – who are part of our lives – from all kinds of threats and danger in addition to raising them and ensuring their survival," he said.

Following the Erdogan's comments government's Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul said on Wednesday: “The commission will start to work tomorrow, and we will talk about all measures [that can be taken], including castration, chemical castration.”

Court rulings soar

The number of court rulings on child sexual abuse in Turkey has soared, rising from 3,778 in 2006 to 21,189 in 2016, according to justice ministry data cited by human rights groups.

Nearly 60 percent of the suspects in the 2016 cases were convicted, Turkey's Human Rights Association (IHD) said in November.

The president also vowed to take fast and effective remedies without wasting time on unnecessary meetings and discussions.

He said those who committed such criminal acts would be exempted from any leeway in the country's executive system.

In the latest case to cause widespread outrage in the country, a 20-year-old man has been accused of sexually assaulting a four-year-old in the southern province of Adana.

Prosecutors on Tuesday demanded 66 years in prison for the man after the alleged assault occurred at a wedding on February 10.

Chemical castration, which involves using drugs to reduce libido, does not prevent a person from experiencing sexual urges indefinitely.

Criminalising adultery debate

On Tuesday, Erdogan said that there should be a debate about criminalising adultery, bringing another issue he has raised in the past to the fore.

In 2004, Erdogan's government backed a law criminalising adultery but had to abandon it after intense pressure from the European Union.

Turkey's EU membership talks officially began in 2005 but had been granted candidate status in 1999.

"I believe it would be very, very right for the adultery issue to be considered again. During the EU process – this is self-criticism – we made a mistake on this issue," Erdogan told reporters.

The Turkish leader added the issue should be evaluated in the "same scope" with harassment and other problems.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies