A sex abuse scandal involving young children has rocked the Turkish province of Karaman where a teacher faces up to 600 years in prison.
A shocking 14-page indictment against teacher Muharrem B. has caused scandal across Turkey. The 54-year-old is accused of sexually abusing children between the ages of eight and 10 over a period of four years.
The entire scandal started after a nine year old boy refused to go to school earlier this year. The boy was referred by a doctor to a psychologist who was able to find out that the boy had been repeatedly raped by his teacher. An investigation was launched and police found that six other children were raped, three were suspected of being raped and one boy was sexually molested. Police have said there are indications that the number of victims could be much higher and could be up to 45 children reports Die Welt.
Muharrem B. has so far admitted to molesting at least four of the children and is also accused of forcing the children to watch pornography with him. The accused denied forcing the children to watch pornography saying: “The children might have seen these kinds of images accidentally on my open computer screen when they entered my room,” during the indictment.
The children had a different story and told the court: “Our teacher made us watch animal and people porn,” and said that their teacher often described to them his sexual relations with his wife in detail.
One of the children also said “everyone knew in the home,” about the abuse “but we couldn’t talk among ourselves or talk to our families about it.” Another described the horrific conditions saying: “He came at night and forced me to come along. I defended myself, but he did not let up. A few days later he took me away again. I was very afraid of him.”
The employer of the teacher, the Ensar Foundation, attempted to cover up the matter on their end. They claimed the teacher had only worked as a volunteer for them in 2013 however it was proven that he had been working for them since they opened their office in the area in 2012.
In Turkey it is illegal to operate dormitories for young children but this did not stop the Ensar Foundation. It was also revealed that authorities turned a blind eye to these illegal accommodations while abuse was happening in them.
The Ensar Foundation is close to the ruling AKP party headed by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. The foundation’s dormitories and camp sites are used to facilitate religious education and fulfil Erdogan’s ideal of a “religious generation.” Religious allies of Erdogan were criticized recently after a cartoon was released encouraging children to commit martyrdom in a magazine aimed at young boys.
Many critics have accused the government of a cozy relationship with the foundation and said they are trying to keep the scandal out of the limelight. Turkish journalist Serbay Mansuroglu, who initially broke the story, said: “I know how political discussions run in Turkey, but I did not think that even on an issue such as child abuse they would run that way. Instead of protecting children, the Minister protects the establishment. And the government instigates a discussion that only aims to make us forget the abuse.”
The new Turkish migrant deal with the European Union could see visa-free access to all Turkish citizens as early as this year according to some reports and many believe it is one step closer for Turkey joining the EU as a full member.