Turkey's top court orders state to pay 100,000 liras over denial of abortion to rape victim

Turkey's Constitutional Court has ordered the state to pay a record fine of 100,000 liras ($14,400) as compensation to a 17-year-old rape victim after a local court denied her plea for abortion four times.

Duvar English

Turkey's Constitutional Court has ordered the state to pay 100,000 liras ($14,400) in compensation to a sexual victim over a local court's refusal to allow a termination to the pregnancy. This is the highest amount of compensation ever granted to an applicant by the top court, Habertürk reported on July 28.

The case concerns a 17-year-old whose health reports showed in 2017 that she was 10 weeks pregnant. She told the police that she was raped by different men in 2016 in the southern province of Mersin, as a result of which an investigation was launched into the incident by the prosecutors.

The teenager and her family filed a complaint against the suspects and demanded a termination to the pregnancy. The court however rejected the abortion plea, saying that instead prosecutors should file such a request.

The prosecutors then filed a demand, but the court turned it down on the grounds that the “fetus has a right to life” and demanded a report which outlined how the pregnancy had a negative health effect on the teenager.

In the face of the court's decision, the 17-year-old penned an official letter indicating she did not want to give birth and was suffering mentally and emotionally. The court however turned down the demand once again, which prompted the prosecutors to get a health report from the Mersin University Medical Faculty. The doctors' report, which was issued in week 12 of the pregnancy, said that an abortion would be for the benefit of both the fetus and the teenager.

This report however also did not suffice for the local court to rule for an abortion, as the judges said that the report should have been prepared "in a more detailed way."

As the appeal process was underway, the teenager gave birth to the child, who was placed under state protection.

The incident led the 17-year-old to file an application with the Constitutional Court, with the complaint that her rights had been violated.

Abortion in Turkey is legal until the 10th week after the conception. It can be extended if there is an endangerment to the woman's life or the life of the fetus. If the woman is under the age of 18, then parental consent is required.