The Turkish Constitutional court has lowered the age of consent to 12-years-old. This summer, the Turkish Hurriyet reported: “The Constitutional Court has ruled to annul a provision that punishes all sexual acts against children under the age of 15 as “sexual abuse,” stirring outrage from academics and women’s rights activists who warn that the decision will lead to cases of child abuse going unpunished.
The Constitutional Court discussed the issue upon an application from a district court, which complained that the current law does not discriminate between age groups in cases of child sexual abuse and treats a 14-year-old as equal to a four-year-old. The local court said the law does not provide legal consequences for the “consent” of victims in cases where the child victim is from 12 to 15 years of age and able to understand the meaning of the sexual act. “This creates an imbalance between legal benefits and sanctions that should be preserved in crime and punishment,” the application stated.”
Kronen Zeitung reported that the district court claimed a 15-year old’s consent was scarcely different to that of a 12 to 14-year-old’s. They argued that the mental capacity of a 12-year-old was not hugely different from a 15-year-old. There remains confusion over Turkey’s age of consent laws, which differ for minors consenting to one another, and appears to draw differences for those consenting – or not – to sex with those much older than them.
The new laws will come into effect on Jan. 31, 2018.