Eight-year high for child sexual abuse in Turkey - main opposition

Turkey's main opposition party deputy chair said the number of child abuse victims in the country in 2018 had reached the highest number in last eight years, independent news site Diken reported on Tuesday.

The Republican People's Party (CHP) Deputy Chair Gamze Akkuş İlgezdi said child sexual abuse cases increased by 12 percent in 2018, compared to the previous year, reaching the highest figures since 2010.

The CHP politician drew attention to sexual crimes not only targeting children but also committed by them in her report.

İlgezdi said the recorded number of children who committed sexual abuse crimes targeting other children increased by 233 percent in 2018, compared to the previous year, reaching 5,331 from 1,603.

A total of 2,754 children aged between 12-15 were involved in crimes related to sexual abuse, according to İlgezdi.
Turkey's largest city and financial powerhouse Istanbul, saw the largest number of child abuse cases, İlgezdi said.

While the cases of sexual abuse against children had increased, the number of acquitted alleged sex offenders had increased by 11 percent compared to 2017, İlgezdi said.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has come under fire for its response to a series of child sex abuse cases in recent years.

The government in 2016 was accused of protecting the Islamist education foundation Ensar, after imposing a broadcast ban preventing reporting on 45 cases of child sexual abuse by an Ensar employee at children's dormitories run by the foundation.