Minister Gül: Our children must grow up in an environment of peace, tranquillity, trust and justice 23.11.2017
Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gül said "If we want to build our future with our children, they must grow up within an environment of peace, tranquillity, trust and justice".

"New Research in Juvenile Justice: Effective Policy Development Workshop" was organized by the Department of Victims' Rights under the DG for Criminal Affairs, Ministry of Justice. The workshop started with the presence of Minister of Justice Abdülhamit Gül and Minister of Family and Social Policies Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya.

THE CHILDREN WHOSE LIVES WERE TORN APART BY WAR CANNOT BE FORGOTTON

Minister Gül underlined that human beings are created in the most honourable way compared to other living beings and children are certainly the most innocent and sinless among them, "We as a nation believe in our culture that the most honourable living being is the human being among others. Children are the most innocent and sinless living beings. Every child in the world regardless of the mother tongue or colour is our child, our son and daughter. We care so much about them. I suppose fixing the problems in the world may be done only if we eliminate the hostility, violence, brutality and other adversities towards children. If we will build the future through our children, they must grow up in an environment of peace, tranquillity, trust and justice. How can we possibly forget the children whose souls were torn apart by the Syrian war? Can we forget the body of the baby Aylan washed ashore? His body actually represented the lost human soul in today's world. We as human beings must find and protect that lost spirit and justice in the world as soon as possible."

EVERYONE SHOULD ACT RESPONSIBLY

Minister Gül stated that children die from hunger and famine every day in Africa, "This reflects the undeniable truth that the organizations, states which are so-called defenders of peace and justice apply double standard and do not put in any effort in this regard. Today we host more than 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey. Their population amounts to about 610 thousand and they have shelter, education and social environment. They are not a burden for us. However, we have the right to expect from the defenders of justice, democracy and children rights in the world as they call themselves to act responsibly in this regard. We can offer as much aid as possible to refugees, but nothing can replace home. We pray and hope wholeheartedly that they return to their homeland safe and sound as soon as possible ".

FAMILY IS THE FUNDAMENTAL INSTITUTION FOR OUR CHILDREN

Minister Gül emphasized that it is important to rehabilitate the children who were pushed to commit crimes and reintegrate them into society, "The family is the fundamental obstacle in the way of juvenile criminality and being child victims. The family is the most fundamental institution, this is known by every society. In that case, the most critical and key role falls to the family institution before the state institutions. The notion of justice is best introduced and adopted on mother's bosom and in the family home". He added that the most important measure to prevent pushing the children to commit crimes and their victimization is to strengthen the family institution and the Turkish government puts lots of effort to achieve this.

CHILDREN WILL NOT BE THE SUBJECT OF EXECUTION LIKE A COMMODITY

Underlining that preventive and restorative rules of law are also effective in preventing crime, Gül expressed that there is transition from punitive justice to restorative justice in the criminal justice system. Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gül stated that regulations on "child handover" and " contact with child " issues in the divorce process and afterwards, are included in the Draft Law on Victims' Rights  and added "In today's criminal justice system, we have transited from punitive justice approach to restorative justice approach, and the understanding of the compensation of material and moral harm of the victim has come to the forefront. In this context, the Victims' Rights Department has been established under the Directorate General for Criminal Affairs in order to carry out necessary studies in the field of victim rights. Studies on the Draft Law on Victims' Rights has been completed in this regard and has been submitted for opinion to the related boards. It includes new regulations to execute the decisions on contact with the child which is a difficult process for parents and especially for children in the trial process and afterwards. Thus, children will not be the subject of execution like a commodity. Like a completely new model, children will be provided to be meet their parents through specialists such as psychologists and pedagogues without being worn out and wounded. We are making a humanitarian touch to the system. We are about to complete our studies for making regulations to ensure the mentioned issue to be a subject of the family courts, not of the execution courts. "

66 JUVENILE COURTS IN 32 HIGH CRIMINAL COURT DISTRICTS

Gül noted that child protection mechanisms have been established and the social dimension of criminal law has been handled with reforms made in the direction of restorative justice.

Gül explained that a child-specific judicial system and a support model for the judicial process has been developed. In this context, Gül reported that 66 juvenile courts are operating in 32 high criminal court districts.

Gül stated that there are 261 family courts in 85 high criminal courts throughout Turkey and 656 experts including psychologists and pedagogues have been working in these courts.

JUDICIAL VISITING ROOMS FOR FRAGILE GROUPS

Minister Gül also explained the functioning of the judicial visiting rooms opened for the protection of fragile victim groups, especially children, and gave the following information:

“A total of 30 judicial visiting rooms were established in 23 provinces and 26 court houses with the objectives of the judicial reform strategy and strategic plan within the scope of the Justice for Children Project between 2012- 2014. Visiting rooms were opened on 3 April and 792 proceedings were conducted in those rooms in approximately 6 months till 10 October.

I wish that all the work done within the scope of the objectives and international practices will be evaluated in a holistic manner in this workshop and in this way, it will contribute for developing effective and sustainable policies towards juvenile justice. "

Expressing that the Judicial Reform Strategy and the Ministry of Justice Strategic Plan include regulations and reforms to facilitate children's access to justice, Gül added that strengthening the juvenile justice system is one of the main objectives.

Judiciary of Turkey