Erdoğan says measures will be taken against child abuse, adultery

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said his government will take stringent measures and impose heavy penalties against child abusers and that cases of adultery will be considered to be at the same level of criminality.

Speaking to reporters following a meeting of his party in Ankara on Tuesday, Erdoğan said there has been a 700 percent rise in the number of sexual crimes committed in Turkey over the past decade, adding that adultery should also be considered within the “same scope” as child abuse.

The president said it is his government’s duty to protect innocent children from all kinds of threats and that failing to do so could lead to the collapse of the society.

Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül also said on Tuesday that legal steps were being taken against the increase in child abuse and that the government was considering introducing chemical castration for child sex offenders, by putting in place the relevant regulations in a couple of days.

“We want to enact the measure of reducing and suppressing the sexual drive with chemicals during the punishment execution period, as per a court decision, within a few days,” Gül said.

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ also announced on Monday that a commission of six ministers had been formed to deal with the child abuse issue.

With regards to his government’s backtracking from legislation that would criminalize adultery in 2004, Erdoğan said it was a mistake.

The Justice and Development Party (AKP), which had previously attempted to outlaw adultery in 2004, withdrew the legislation following outrage from women’s groups and the European Union.

“This society holds a different position with regards to its moral values. During the EU [accession] process — this is self-criticism, I admit that — we made a mistake,” Erdoğan said on Tuesday.

Back in 2004, Erdoğan said at a news conference with an EU official that no legislative measures would be taken aimed at criminalizing adultery during his party’s term in power.

“I don’t know what will happen after us,” he said.

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