The Justice for Children Group drew attention to the situation of children that became victims of the Turkish Anti-Terror Law (TMK). For this purpose they brought the families of 14 detained children together with MPs of the Democratic Society Party (DTP), the Democratic Left Party (DSP), the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). The meeting took place in the Turkish National Assembly (TBMM) on 12 October.12 mothers, 1 older sister and 1 older brother of altogether 14 children in detention talked to MPs of the 4 parties in their meeting rooms. Spokeswoman Jale Mildanoğlu told bianet that children are tried at Juvenile High Criminal Courts but that this does not solve the problem by its root.

Mildanoğlu: We are certainly hopeful

Mildanoğlu stated that most mothers participating in the meeting evidently suffer from depression or other illnesses caused by their distress and sadness. The mothers suffer from hypertension and neurological and heart problems. One mother started to scream and fainted when it was her turn to speak.Regarding a solution in favor of the children, the women said "We are certainly hopefull. Up to now nobody has opposed us. Nobody just said ‘Terror is a problem’ or ‘This is a part of the Kurdish question’".The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) did not give an appointment to the mothers. MHP deputy chairman Mehmet Şandır declared last week, "You are right, these children are in a terrible situation, it is a mistake to treat the children like this. We do not agree with putting this issue on the agenda of the Justice and Development Party, but we do not object because we know the children’s situation".Mildanoğlu mentioned that AKP MP Abdulmuttalip Özbek did not leave them alone with the problem and that DTP Diyarbakır MP Gülten Kışanak was also well prepared. The group’s spokeswoman pointed out that Özbek and Sevahir Bayındır from DTP translated their contributions from Turkish to Kurdish since most mothers were not familiar with the Turkish language.

"The problem will grow if we do not find a solution quickly"

After the meeting with the delegation of the Justice for Children Group, DSP MP Ayşe Jale Ağırbaş, Hasan Erçelebi and Hasan Macit talked to Nur Sertel from CHP and afterwards to Abdülmuttalip Özbek, Abdurahman Kurt and other MPs from AKP in a session closed to the press."3,000 children are being prosecuted, 300 children are in detention. We have made our warnings about the potential dimensions of the problem if a solution cannot be reached; we have talked about the dangers. Think about it, if each child has only one sibling this means a total of 6,000 people. If we also count the higher number of siblings, the cousins and other members of those families, it means that this problem grows like the waves of a stone thrown into a lake".Mildanoğlu criticized that the Court of Appeals Criminal Council authorized the use of firearms by security forces against children throwing stones. Furthermore, she explained, "It is not only that the mothers suffer from several diseases. They are also poor and cannot afford a lawyer. They said that most of the lawyers appointed by the Bar Association do not care enough about the children and that the mothers are not able to receive effective legal assistance".Mildanoğlu indicated that they asked for support from AKP leaders for a proposal to amend the law. This legislative proposal was discussed in the Council of Ministers and was extended by Ağırbaş’s judiciary reports.

"The problem cannot be solved just by changing the court"

The Justice for Children Group announced that the Child Protection Law, the UN Children’s Rights Convention, the Juvenile Courts and the Children’s Bureaus serve as legal and structural tools during the process of finding a solution. The evident problems affecting the children are the TMK enforced in 1991 and its expansion in 2006 concerning special investigations, special prosecutions, special punishments and a special enforcement regime.Mildanoğlu argues that the Code of Criminal Procedure (CMK), the Meetings and Demonstrations Law, the Turkish Criminal Code (TCK) and the TMK certainly need to be reviewed in order to get the problem by its root.Moreover, the Justice for Children Group met a group of 38 members of parliament, among them DTP leader Ahmet Türk, CHP leader Deniz Baykal, state minister responsible for Children and Families Selma Aliye Kavaf, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç and Mehmet Şandır. (EÖ/VK) Ankakra – BİA News Center15 October 2009, Thursday



October 15, 2009