The 54-year-old teacher, identified as Muammer B., had been teaching private courses to students in apartments hired by the Karaman branch of the Ensar Foundation, which reportedly has close links with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
According to its website, Ensar Foundation was established in 1979 to provide high quality “religious and ethical education to enrich the moral dynamics of the people,” and has tens of branches throughout Turkey.
Probably 45 children were raped by Ensar pro gov Foundation members, Turkey’s Goverment is trying to cover the news by censorship. Twitter users are taking the social media to spread the message and trying to make all the big news papers being aware of the situation.
Muammer, who was arrested on March 4, will be tried at the Karaman Court of Serious Crimes on charges of “sexually abusing a child”, “deprivation of freedom”, “deliberately injuring” and “encouraging a child to read and view obscene publications,” said Oktay Yılmaz, Karaman’s bar association head.
The incident has triggered angry reactions among social media users, many of whom think the government, which denies any involvement in the scandal, is struggling to cover up the crime.
The NGO, established in 1979, has branches across the country and focuses on education, offering classes, scholarships and accommodation to students. The foundation's president, İsmail Cenk Dilberoğlu, said in an interview with a newspaper that they would never cover up the incident as claimed and would be active in the legal process for the punishment of the defendant. He said Ensar Foundation hosted tens of thousands of people in the dormitories it owned for decades and volunteers from all walks of life. Dilberoğlu said people trusted the NGO for its work and this trust would help them to restore the image spoiled by the defamation campaign.
Social media activists have launched the Twitter hashtag #StopChildRapeInTurkey to show their fury against the sexual violence. Twitter users inside and outside Turkey spread the message mentioning @UNESCO @UNICEF @vicenews @nytimes @cnn @BBCWorld @latimes, local news paper and artists.
Reporting sexual abuse in Turkey is said to be difficult as the issue is considered a taboo in the Turkish culture.
— Alexandra De Corato (@AlexDeCorato) 22 mars 2016
According to Daily Sabah, the debate soon drifted into Islamophobic territory, as fierce critics of the religion took the chance to hit out at “Islamists,” claiming there were ties between the teacher and Ensar Foundation where he briefly volunteered. Indeed the suspect, identified as M.B. by police, volunteered for five months for Ensar Foundation, known for offering religious education to boys and girls, amid other charity work.
The foundation now complains that they have been unfairly targeted in the criticism of the teacher who currently faces multiple life sentences.
Petition submitted by Ensar Foundation to the court to be a part of the lawsuit against the suspect M.B.
Ensar Foundation has denied any link with the teacher besides his brief stint as volunteer in 2013, one year before the first instance of sexual abuse by M.B. took place, according to prosecutors seeking sentences for the arrested defendant.
The foundation denounced criticism, which “ignored the legal principle of individual criminal responsibility. ”
The defamation apparently aims to hurt the reputation of the faithful rather than condemning the abuse of children,” a statement released by the foundation said. Ensar Foundation vowed to take legal action against the defamation campaign.
According to reports, many children are subject to sexual abuse in Turkish prisons. Turkish newspaper Dicle News published a report in 2012 on the alleged sexual abuse and torture inflicted on Kurdish children jailed at the Pozantı Juvenile Prison in southern Turkey.
The children, aged between 13 and 17, were not only sexually abused by prison officers and guards, but denied medical attention and hung from basketball hoops until close to choking as a means of torture.
“Some of our friends were raped by the ordinary prisoners dozens of times. They sometimes tried to force our trousers down. Our experiences cannot be described,” claimed 15-year-old H.K., one of the victims.
— özlemküçükyılmaz (@OzlemKucukylmz) 21 mars 2016