News / Europe

Infamous Turkish Rape Case Still Fuels Outrage 8 Years Later

Dorian Jones

Human-rights groups are expressing outrage about controversial decisions by Turkey's judiciary in a few high-profile rape cases. One involves a Turkish appeals court reducing the prison sentences of more than 20 men convicted of having sex with a 12-year-old girl. The case is at the European Court of Human Rights and has become the focal point of growing anger.  

The case of the girl, legally known only as NC, continues to cause outrage and anger in Turkey.

Last November, hundreds of people protested in Istanbul, when Turkey's Court of Appeal ruled that the then 12-year-old child consented to being raped by more than a dozen men and sentenced most to only one or two years in jail.

For human-rights lawyer Eren Keskin, it was the latest setback in her eight-year struggle for justice for NC.  

Keskin is a 20-year veteran of such struggles and confronting the darkest side of Turkish society, but she said in her long experience this case found new depths.

From the beginning this was terrible court case, she said, involving a 12-year-old girl who was an orphan. She was abducted and held for months, where she was rented out to be raped by more than a dozen men, which included local state officials and an officer in the army.  The lawyer said all of these men are supposed to protect the people.

Keskin said the case exposes the worst aspects and deficiencies of the Turkish justice system in how it treats female victims of sexual crimes, especially minors. She said she was appalled at how NC was treated through years of legal hearings.

The judges humiliated her, demanding she explain in detail what was done to her in front of the defendants. Keskin said there was no support for her in the court, no protection, she was the accused, it was very hard for her.

Keskin said through it all, NC was receiving psychiatric help, but was brought back to the trauma with each court appearance and after every hearing she was more defeated.

Several Turkish ministers have strongly criticized the judiciary over the handling of the NC case. Turkish Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin said the NC crime occurred before new legislation that proscribes far harsher penalties.

Pinar Ilkaracan of Women for Women Human Rights questioned the government's commitment, saying only pressure from society forced it to amend legislation reducing penalties for rapists if they married their victim.

"This article was in the old penal code and it was one of the articles which drew the most reaction from the public. That the government wanted to keep the article, but finally it was canceled," said Ilkaracan. "However, the government has changed the composition, and members of the higher judges and prosecutors, and now in the new council there are judges and prosecutors who [are] much more conservative. And now it seems to be a backlash to the changes in the penal code."

Keskin said the legal reforms are an important improvement, but her experience in handling the NC case reveals the need for changes in judiciary mentality.

She said the case highlights that Turkish law is very male orientated and feudal in its mentality. She added that there have been many positive changes to the law, but in its application and implementation there have been only small steps.

NC is now a fully grown woman, and with the support of Keskin is planning to attend university. But her quest for justice has ended in Turkey and she is seeking redress in the European Court of Human Rights, where Keskin hopes she finally will find justice.

You May Like

Syrian Rebels Poised for Anti-Russia Collaboration

Forty-one insurgent groups issue joint statement vowing retaliation for Russian air offensives More

Political Maneuver Revives Export-Import Bank's Chances

Parliamentary tactic gets bill out of committee, but it faces opposition in the Senate More

Beijing Warns US on S. China Sea Patrols

Warning follows news reports Thursday that US military is planning to sail warships close to artificial islands Beijing has been aggressively building More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs