arresting those children, hastily relegating them to adult status and trying
them with terror charges, what are we hoping to achieve? Do we hope that they
will be rehabilitated or that they should be further traumatized and easily
fell for a politicization of hatred, which would surpass the current level of
Murat Paker begin his speech with this question during a press conference today
at Bilgi University, demanding the release of hundreds of children accused of
"being a member to a terrorist organization" upon participating
protests in Diyarbakır and other cities in southeastern Turkey.
signed by 265 intellectuals initiated the meeting. They urge that courts and
the government should respect the universal principles of juvenile justice
among them Hakan Tahmaz, Zeynep Tanbay, Ferhat Kentel, Pınar Selek, Mebuse
Tekay, Melek Ulagay Taylan, Emine Uşaklıgil and Bilgesu Erenus attended the
press release, "We want justice for children with children" said
actress Bennu Yıldırımlar.
behalf of the families of the concerned children, Arif Akkaya suggested,
"rights and laws are put on hold regarding Kurdish children". He
emphasized that those children bear the burden of the ongoing war between the
state and Kurdish rebel group PKK. Making reference to PM Recep Tayyip
Erdogan's infamous protest at Davos, "Those who shed tears for the
children of Gaza blind their eyes to the suffering of Kurdish children,"
Meral Danış Beştaş from Diyarbakır Bar Association explained how national
legislation and international treaties signed by Turkey –such as the UN
Convention of the Rights of the child- are violated in practice.
attention to the Counter Terrorism Law and a Supreme Court of Appeals ruling,
which enabled courts to treat all participants of a protest as "members to
a terrorist organization", in case "the terrorist organization calls
for that protest."
who spend 10 years in PKK get away with 6 years in prison while these children
are tried with up to 20 years for just participating in an event. This is
children are denied their childhood" said Paker. "It's assumed that
they posses the mental and emotional capacity of adults, which simply isn't
true. If this isn't enough, they face terror charges for throwing stones to the
police. All in all, we witness an acute eclipse of reason and conscience
regarding the system in Turkey."
children and families live in poverty and despair," added social worker
Ermrah Kırımsoy, citing quotes from face-to-face interviews with several of
emphasized the importance of social treatise reports required to determine
criminal capacity of the accused and stated that the courts fail to employ
those as described by law. (EÜ/AGÜ)