Hürriyet Daily News
A 3.15-million euro project aimed at increasing protection for minors within the justice system, funded by the European Union, was launched yesterday with cooperation between several Turkish ministries, the E.U. and UNICEF.
Speaking at the inauguration of the “Justice for Chidren” project, Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin voiced concern over the rising rates of juvenile delinquency, and stressed that children dragged into crime required special attention and support within the justice system.
The justice ministry is providing education, social and cultural activities, and psychological support for the 2,360 minors currently in Turkey’s penal institutions, said Ergin.
Incarceration of minors is a “last resort,” he added, emphasizing that the ministry favored methods such as rehabilitation and probation that do not separate children from their families. There are currently 8,642 children on probation in Turkey.
E.U. Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert told reporters that the E.U. funds would be used to improve many aspects of Turkey’s justice system, including the construction of special interrogation rooms for minors in 160 courthouses.
Since Turkey’s Child Protection Law was passed in 2005, the Turkish government has been utilizing E.U. funding to create a specialized juvenile justice system in line with international standards. The “Justice for Children” project’s objective is to ensure that minors are better served and protected by the justice system, as well as the security and social welfare sectors.