A Quran course instructor has blamed the children he sexually abused and said he was wrongfully being accused by them as they were having difficulties memorizing the Islamic holy book.
The instructor at the Hacı Bahattin Evgi Quran Course in the eastern province of Erzurum drew criticism for blaming the two children he is accused of having sexually assaulted and five children he sexually abused.
The man, identified only by his initials N.K., allegedly sexually assaulted students, beat them with a stick, the Quran, a frame with a portrait of modern Turkey founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, and slippers.
“I did no such thing. I think these kids are disgracing me. Memorizing the Quran is a very difficult profession. Learning starts from childhood. They may be bored because the form of education is difficult. That's why they said such things,” he said, private broadcaster Halk TV journalist İsmail Saymaz reported.
“The claim that the pages of the Quran were torn and the Atatürk poster was torn apart and thrown away are also untrue,” he added.
A cleaner, who works in the dormitory and allegedly starved the children by beating them with a stick, denied allegations there was torture involved.
The Erzurum Chief Public Prosecutor's Office opened an investigation into N.K., the head of another Quran course, and the cleaner on charges of torture in addition to sexual assault.
All defendants were released pending trial.