Last week, Turkish media reported that about 30 boys aged 10-14 were raped and sexually abused by a worker at the Nizip refugee camp, about 25 miles east of Gaziantep, a large Turkish city of 1.5 million near the Syrian border.
Speaking to Sputnik Turkey, Elif Dogan Turkmen, a lawmaker from the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), suggested that the child abuse uncovered at the camp may only be the tip of the iceberg. The politician slammed the camp's administration and local officials, stressing that they are avoiding taking responsibility for the heinous crimes which have been committed.
A member of a special CHP investigation into the crime, the politician complained that when she and her colleagues arrived at Nazip, they were prevented from entering the camp for over an hour. Furthermore, she and her fellow deputies were not allowed to meet with the parents of the victims, with no explanation given as to why. Other obstructions seem to have been set up all along the way.
"Before the trip," Turkmen recalled, "I learned about the functioning of the camp; earlier, cars had been let in. A question arose in my mind: if an official car with representatives of a party investigative committee could not enter the territory of the camp, who could? Besides, we saw parked cars on the territory of the camp."
"What happened next was very reminiscent of a well-planned and prepared demonstration program, as if we were on a tourist trip, where a special imitation of a tent camp had been prepared and carefully demonstrated. I suspect that behind these closed doors were even more serious violations and crimes."
"Around us, 10-15 guards had gathered, and they did their best to prevent our work. I wanted to ask where they had been were when children were being raped?"
"If I was in the place of the minister of family and social policy, I would have resigned the same day [after finding out about the crimes]. Being in such a high position requires a deep understanding of one's responsibility. Unfortunately, this is a feeling that is alien to many senior Turkish officials," Turkmen concluded.