The children victims of the earthquake were sent to Ağaçlı Children and Youth Central Dormitory, run by the Turkish government. There they were subjected to systematic violence by the religious caretakers.
In Hatay, the Antakya Children’s Homes Site was severely damaged, and the orphaned children were transferred to other dormitories.
A.Ç., one of the orphaned children who were transferred to the Ağaçlı Children and Youth Central Dormitory in Kemerburgaz, Istanbul, reached out to the Yeni Demokrasi newspaper and said that they were exposed to systematic violence in the dormitory.
A.Ç. described the situation in the dormitory with the following statements:
We usually stayed in the dormitory in Antakya. The dormitory where we stayed was heavily damaged due to the earthquakes, and they took us out. Later, each of us was transferred to different dormitories, group by group. There were about 15 of us, and we were sent here. From the first day we arrived, they tried to harass us here. But they couldn’t do much because we were crowded. Later, some of us got permission to work, and some got permission to see our close friends and left the dormitory. I didn’t stay in the dorm for a while. When I came back, a dormitory attendant insisted that I take a shower. So, I told him I would be 18 years old in 3 months, that I was not a child, and that I could decide when to shower. Not long after, the dormitory supervisor called me to his room. He asked me why I wasn’t showering, and I repeated my answer to the dormitory attendant.
Rough beating in a room without a camera
He said, ‘okay, you can go to your room,’ As I walked down the hallway to my room, another dormitory attendant pushed me. I reacted, and then 4-5 people, also dormitory officials, rushed at me, took me to a room without a camera, and beat me roughly. This is downright torture! We are orphans and earthquake victims; is it right to do this to us? Recently, they targeted us and had orphaned children addicted to substances beat a friend of ours. As a result of the torture I experienced, I called the gendarmerie, and they came to the dormitory. There was no footage on the cameras as I was taken into the room and beaten.
The gendarmerie said, “I don’t think you should bother at all.”
The gendarmerie told me, ‘Nothing will come out of this. I don’t think you should bother complaining at all.’ However, when I insisted on complaining and getting an injury/beating report, they took me to the hospital. I complained and received a report of my beating and injuries. At the moment, they do not allow us to go out of the care center, we are in a situation no different than prison. I am also threatened by the dormitory staff for complaining and receiving a report of a beating. They say, ‘If you don’t withdraw your complaint, you won’t be able to get out of here. We won’t let you.’ We want to make our voices heard against what is being done here, against torture. We call on human rights defenders: Please hear us, listen to us. Crimes against humanity are being committed here!
Source: New Democracy
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