Jan 19 2018

Hundreds of underage pregnancies covered up in Istanbul

A scandal has erupted around an Istanbul hospital after it was discovered that hundreds of pregnant girls under 18 have been treated in one hospital without legal investigation, Deniz Yeyrek wrote for the Hürrıyet newspaper.

Turkish newspapers revealed that the Kanuni Sultan Süleyman hospital in Istanbul had treated 115 adolescent pregnant girls, including 38 children under the age of 15, between Jan. 1 and May 9 2017. Thirty-nine of these girls had immigrated to Turkey from Syria.

These instances were recorded and reported to the hospital administration governorate and prosecutor’s office, but no investigation has been launched, according to the news report. Rather, the personnel who informed the authorities of the situation were reportedly transferred for being “overly officious”.

Further investigation revealed that in one year, the hospital had treated 450 pregnant girls under 18 during 2017.

Institutionalised sexual abuse of children is a worrying trend in Turkey, where the Girls Not Brides organisation estimates 15% of girls marry before the age of 18. In early January, the Turkish state religious authority, Diyanet, published a page on its website declaring that girls as young as nine were able to marry and become pregnant.