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Turkey child abuse: Alleged teacher on trial

ANKARA: The hearing has released in Turkey of a teacher blamed of sexually abusing 10 boys under his care at two religious foundations, a case that has traumatised the country and headed to allegations of a conspiracy.

The 54-year-old man is accused with attacking the boys, aged between 10 and 12, at boarding homes, one of which was run by a foundation linked to Turkey’s ruling party. The first inquiry was held Wednesday behind closed doors.

The country’s minister for family affairs, Sema Ramazanoglu, flashed uproar after she labelled the attacks as a “one-off incident” and blamed opposition parties of trying to defame the government-linked foundation.

The minister later endured a criticism gesture in parliament submitted by the opposition, which blamed her of carelessness in stopping fierceness against women and children.

According to the impeachment, the attacks started in 2012 and sustained until last year. The children say they were aged between 10 and 12 years old when they were first abused.

The lawyer for five of the children’s families, Oktay Yilmaz, finds it very difficult to talk about what the children went through.

“They told me they did not tell anyone about this because they were scared and ashamed,” he says.

“They couldn’t look at me while speaking. I said, tell me everything as it happened, do not hide anything. So they started telling it all.

“I don’t want to go into detail of what they said. It disturbs me.”

The case has caused widespread concern and anger across Turkey, especially on social media.

A father of four, Fatih Uyrum, says people are feeling very nervous since they heard about the alleged abuses.

“We wonder whether our neighbours’ children also lived through the same thing, we fear that our kids will be assaulted,” he says.

Thousands of people tweeted under the hashtag #StopChildAbuseinTurkey to share their prevention about what they professed as efforts to cover up the scandal.