Deaths, harassment, child brides and jail: Opposition reports child rights in Turkey

(Updates Aladağ dormitory fire in 4th para.)

Turkey gravely violates children’s rights, a report prepared by the main opposition party has found.

The report entitled “Violations of Children’s Right to Life,” was prepared by Sezgin Tanrıkulu, an MP from the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Turkish news website Gazete Duvar said.

The report said at least 3,947 children died in the last seven years as a direct result of their right to live was violated by the Turkish state, such as by neglect of duty by officials, accidents involving police and military vehicles, or workplace accidents.

In 2017 only, 56 children were killed by preventable accidents, the report said. In November 2016, a fire has killed 12 children in a private religious dormitory in Aladağ, in the southern province of Adana. Firemen found out that the fire exits were locked, but the officials who forged the audit report received only fines a year after the incident.

57 children died in workplace accidents in 2017, CHP's report said.

31 children were killed because of violent incidents, including those that involve armed civilians.

Eight children were killed after being hit by military vehicles. Yiğitcan Camgöz, a 14-year-old boy from İzmir, was killed in September after being beaten by police officers.

In 2017 only, 243 children became victims of sexual harassment, one baby died after being violated in Van.

According to the latest TurkStat statistics, 31,337 marriages were registered with a female partner who was between the ages of 16 to 17, the report said, making 5 percent of marriages involving child brides.

According to the Turkish Ministry of Justice figures, there are 668 children in Turkish jails who are staying with their mothers during their sentence, 249 of them are below the age of one.

In 2014, the number of children were 339, the report said.

CHP MP Sezgin Tanrıkulu also quoted a study by academic Fulya Giray Sözen, which estimated the number of children between the ages of 12 to 18 in Turkish prisons as 200,000.

The report also noted that more than 1.5 million underage Syrian refugees are registered in Turkey, but only about 120,000 (8 percent) of them are living in temporary refugee camps set up by the Turkish government.