At least 30 Syrian children were continuously raped for several months at a Turkish refugee camp in South Eastern Turkey. These acts managed to slip under the radar of Turkish authorities, and now discussions are being held as to whether Turkey is actually safe for refugees, RT reported.
The 30 boys were raped by a cleaner at Nizip Refugee Camp in Antep from September 2015 until the beginning of 2016.
The perpetrator, known only as E.E., has confessed that he lured children between the ages of eight and 12 to have sex with him for 2 to 5 Turkish Lira (US$.70-1.80). The offender is now in pre-trial detention.
According to Sputniknews, The Nizip refugee camp 25 miles east of Gaziantep was founded in 2013 and is currently hosting more than 5000 Syrian immigrants. German chancellor Merkel, Turkey’s former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, EU Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans visited the camp on April 23 to mark Children’s Day in Turkey.
The refugee site saw a great deal of praise from major EU leaders. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was also lauded for his efforts in tackling the problems related to refugee inflow. These words of admiration, however, contradict the statements of many human rights groups, which have been particularly vocal in their criticism of Turkey’s treatment of refugees.
The crime managed to stay hidden for months and allegations only surfaced after families of eight children filed a lawsuit. The families of rest have not yet come forward, fearing deportation, Birgun reported. Birgun also added that the scandal was revealed after military personnel noticed E.E. taking children to the surveillance cameras’ blind spots.
Following the indictment of E.E, the rape victims also disclosed other details of the crime. The children described how they used to be raped in the toilets of the camps.
Human rights activists are pointing to the fact that despite the rapes taking place over the course of many months, they were never detected by the Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), which runs the camp. What was shocking was that the crime only managed to surface after military personnel noticed the perpetrator taking children to the blind spots of cameras.
In a response to the revelations about the perils of the camp, a high-ranking military officer from the camp told BirGün that the AFAD should take the blame for the crimes.
“The AFAD is responsible of the camp and for this disaster,” he said.
AFAD retorted by claiming the publication of rape allegations months after the incident were attempts to discredit Turkey which is currently hosting three million Syrian and Iraqi refugees.
Despite all the controversies surrounding the country’s treatment of refugees, Turkey currently holds the largest number of asylum seekers, including 2.7 million Syrian refugees.
Europe is going through the biggest refugee crisis since the second world war. More than a million desperate refugees crossed the border in 2015. The majority of them were from neighboring Syria, the country that was put into turmoil by persistent civil war and extremist jihad groups.
RT also added that The European Union and Turkey are trying to work out a deal under which would see Ankara taking back all illegal migrants crossing into Greece from Turkey. In exchange, the EU would take in thousands of Syrian refugees directly from Turkey.
The disclosure of this news has prompted human right organizations like Amnesty International and others to voice their claims that Turkey isn’t a “safe” place for asylum seekers.
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