115 underage pregnant girls treated in İstanbul hospital not notified to Turkish authorities

An İstanbul hospital that treated 115 pregnant underage girls, including 39 Syrian nationals, between Jan. 1 and May 9 last year, failed to notify the authorities, which is a legal requirement for treating pregnant girls younger than 18 years-old, according to a report by Hürriyet Daily News on Wednesday.

The report said the situation came to light when a hospital social worker and psychologist notified the Küçükçekmece Prosecutor’s Office. The records at the Kanuni Sultan Süleyman Training and Research Hospital in the Küçükçekmece district of İstanbul have showed that of the 115 girls, 77 became pregnant between the ages of 15 and 18, while the remaining 38 got pregnant before the age of 15.

Turkish regulations enforced by the Health Ministry obligates the hospitals to notify the police in cases where the pregnant girl is younger than 18, while cases involving children below 15 automatically qualify as “sexual abuse.”

The Küçükçekmece Chief Prosecutor’s Office had demanded an investigation into a doctor and hospital employee implicated in the incident, but the İstanbul Governor’s Office, in a letter dated Dec. 4, 2017, refused permission. The governor’s office said the hospital records showed that the two hospital personnel had not “neglected their duty.”

The lawyer Erkan Akça has made an appeal to the İstanbul Regional Administrative Hospital to nullify the decision made by the Governor’s Office. “The institution that should investigate the neglect of duty is the prosecutor’s office. The refusal of the governor’s office to allow an investigation is against the law,” Akça said in his appeal dated Jan. 2, 2018.

Meanwhile, an investigation has been launched into the anonymous hospital social worker who notified the incident to the authorities and who has subsequently been re-assigned to other places of work twice.

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