STATEMENT ON REPORTS IN THE PRESS
Reports in the press that Turkey has adopted a new law making permissible sexual acts with children under 15 years of age do not reflect the reality. There is no such new law.
Turkey is a country where the age of consent is one of the highest in the world. According to the Turkish legislation in force, sexual relations with children under 18 are punishable. In case of sexual acts where the victim is between 15 and 18 years of age, prosecution is dependent of a complaint by the victim. However, complaint is not required if the difference of age between the two individuals is over five years.
A regional Turkish Criminal Court has recently seized the Constitutional Court complaining that the current law did not differentiate cases of sex abuse and treated abuse against a 14 year old as equal to abuse against a 4 year old. The provincial court's reasoning that the notion of consent should also apply for children between 12 and 15 was endorsed by the Constitutional Court which annulled the article in question of the Penal Code.
However, the Constitutional Court ruled that the present law would remain in force six more months during which the legislator is invited to make necessary changes in the law addressing all possible deficiencies and vacuums. The legislative process will consult all concerned parties and be subject to a thorough debate in Parliament. Until then, the present legislation will remain in force.
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