Kurdish child prisoners subject to sexual abuse in Turkey
Several Kurdish children have spoken about their traumatising experience in Pozanti prison, where they were allegedly sexually molested and raped. For legal reasons the victims have not been named but only identified through their initials. 15-year old H.K says “Some of our friends were molested many times. They beat us and forced us to undress. What we have been through cannot be put into words.” He explained in an interview to Evrensel that he witnessed sexual assault and rape of several children inside Pozanti prison.
Forced to kiss Turkish flag
According to Evrensel Newspaper, many of these children were imprisoned alongside serious offenders, despite having only partaken in protests. 17-year old S.A explained that he was arrested for taking part in a demonstration, and had been assaulted by police officers, who had attempted to force him to spy in his neighbourhood. When S.A did not accept to be a spy in his neighbourhood, he was arrested and put in Pozanti prison, where he explains “I experienced very bad thing there. The criminals (criminal prisoners) tied ropes around our throat and tightened it. They beat us up. They said that I was a terrorist and brought us flags (Turkish flag) to kiss. Those who did not kiss the flag would get beaten up again.”
S.A explains that despite their continuos efforts and plea to the police administration at Pozanti prison, they were not removed from the wards where they were subject to sexual abuse. This experience has left him traumatised, and unable to move on from what had happened, he says, “Our friends (at the prison) are ashamed of getting together. Because they still cannot forget what they experienced”.
Rape victims talking about their ordeal
According to Didem Gediz Gelegen Türkmen, many of these children are left ashamed and traumatised because of what had happened to them, often too shy to talk about what had happened. In many instances she says, they spoke about other children’s ordeal, although it was clear later on that they were speaking about themselves.
We are currently unable to comment on this due to limited sources but are trying to find more intelligence on Pozanti prison, and Kurdish children that were arrested.