Statement On Reports In The Press

Oslo Büyükelçiliği 16.08.2016

With reference to the recent news items in the Norwegian press, regarding the Turkish Constitutional Court’s annulment of Article 103, chapter 1 of the Turkish Penal Code, the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey in Oslo would like to make the following clarifications for the sake of setting the record straight.

-Upon the request of the local court in Bafra, the Turkish Constitutional Court decided to annul the chapter 1 of article 103 in Turkish Penal Code on the 26th of May 2016. The annulment will enter into force six months after the decision is published in the official gazette. That means that the annulment cannot enter into force before 11 December 2016.

-The legal age of consent for sexual activity in Turkey is 18. According to article 104 of the Turkish Penal Code, sexual contact between/with persons between 15-18 years of age, can be prosecuted upon complaint. On the other hand, article 103, chapter 1 states that any person who engages in sexual activity with someone under 15 years of age shall be sentenced to imprisonment from 8 to 15 years, because of child abuse. In serious cases specified in the same article the penalty shall be imprisonment of not less than 16 years.

-The Constitutional Court, underlined in its decision that the existing law did not allow the courts to take the specific conditions of each and every case into consideration, and that this was against the principle of “proportionality”.

-Close in age exemption is regulated under article 308 of Norwegian Penal Code. Article 308 states that a penalty may be remitted or imposed below the minimum, if those who have engaged in sexual activity are about equal as regards age and development.

-This is however not the case in Turkey.Turkey does not have a close in age exemption in its current Penal Code. In principle, the aim of the said decision of the Turkish Constitutional Court is to bring a similar provision to the Turkish Penal Code described in article 308 of Norwegian Penal Code.

-Now it is time for the Turkish Grand National Assembly to pass a regulation, based on the conclusions of the Turkish Constitutional Court. We would emphasise that there is no legal gap for penalizing the offences of the sexual abuse of children. Penal Code article 103/1-a is in force.​

-Therefore the news items stating that “Turkey has adopted a new law allowing sexual engagement with children until the age of 12” is totally wrong and misguided.

Fazlı Çorman Ambassador
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