According to the revised TMK, children will not receive prison sentences for attending political demonstrations or protests unless they use firearms at the event in question.
Over the past 25 days, police have arrested 15 children in Mersin alone. Eyüp Sabri Öncel, a member of Human Rights Association (IHD) Central Executive Board, said that the legal change has not improved the condition of children or reduced the state’s prosecution of children involved in demonstrations.
In total, 20 children over recent days were taken into custody for allegedly “being members of an illegal organization,” “acting on behalf of an organization,” “bringing a member to the organization”, “damaging common property”, “using explosive material” and “opposing the law at a demonstration”. The children are all aged between 14 or 15 years.
Furthermore, some of the children’s families allege that their children were forced to perform labour for police while in custody and others were forced to sign false confessions, writing their signature on the bottom of a blank page before the police added fabricated confessions.
Tuncel believes that the amended TMK is nothing more than a worthless piece of paper: “The amendment was made to calm people not as a permanent solution.
It is still possible for Kurdish children to be accused of being members of an illegal organization or making propaganda. This violates international and national law on children’s rights as well as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children. The government needs to find a new way to address these issues instead of arresting children,” said Tuncel.