Thousands protest against child sex abuse in Istanbul

Thousands marched in the streets of Istanbul in protest on Wednesday night after the reported rape of a child in the Küçükçekmece district.

The five-year-old girl was found by her family in a pool of blood outside her home on Monday, Turkish news outlets reported.

The girl was taken to hospital and is still receiving treatment, secularist daily Cumhuriyet reported.

Another girl aged seven was targeted in her home in Küçükçekmece on Wednesday, Cumhuriyet reported. The attacker entered the home when the girl’s mother left to buy bread, but fled when the girl screamed as he attempted to remove her clothes, the report said.

No suspect for either attack has yet been found.

Marches and protests were held around the city on Wednesday night, with women’s groups coming out in force to demand action against sex offenders.

A group from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) staged a demonstration in Istanbul’s Şirinevler district, and politicians from the CHP and other opposition parties joined a march in Sancaktepe.

A women’s platform staged another demonstration in the western Turkish city of Izmir.

Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has also spoken out against the attack on Monday.

The Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services released a statement promising to provide support to the victim and her family, while the Istanbul governorate strongly condemned the attack in a statement on Wednesday.

The governorate, however, warned that “fake news” about the attack had been spread via social media, and said “some circles” had attempted to use the incident to provoke social chaos.

The AKP government has come under fire for its response to a series of child sex abuse cases in recent years.

The government 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 in children's dormitories run by the foundation.

Later in the evening, Istanbul's new mayor Ekrem Imamoglu visited the family and made a short speech to the protestors, promising them 'children will not be harmed.'