Defendants blame Gülen movement for pregnant minor scandal at İstanbul hospital

Two defendants who appeared in the first hearing of a trial concerning a scandal at İstanbul’s Kanuni Sultan Süleyman Teaching and Research Hospital involving 115 pregnant minors have accused the Gülen movement of plotting against them.

The trial of the hospital’s deputy chief physician A.A. and social services expert N.D. began at the Küçükçekmece 20th Penal Court of First Instance in İstanbul on Tuesday.

Last October İclal Nergis, a social services expert at the hospital, notified police that 115 pregnant minors, 39 of whom were Syrian, were accepted as patients by the hospital within the space of five months in  2017 and that hospital administrators failed to take any legal action concerning the girls, who are all below the age of 18. Thirty-eight of them were even younger than 15.

Following this, an investigation was launched into two officials at the hospital on charges of failing to notify the relevant authorities about a crime and the sexual abuse of a child.

During Tuesday’s hearing, A.A. denied the charges and requested his acquittal, saying: “All procedures were done in accordance with the instructions of the Health Ministry. There is no question of negligence. I think this case launched into me is a conspiracy plotted by Fetö.”

Fetö is a term coined by the Turkish government to refer to the Gülen movement as a terror organization. The government accuses the movement of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, although the movement strongly denies any involvement.

It is common in Turkey for both Turkish government officials and ordinary citizens to put the blame on the Gülen movement for anything that goes wrong in the country.

The other defendant also made similar remarks accusing the Gülen movement of being behind the scandal involving the pregnant minors.

The court decided to terminate judicial probation for both defendants, relieving them of the requirement to regularly check in at a police station.

The court also decided that Nergis be compelled to testify in court.

Following the revelation of the scandal, Nergis has twice been replaced.


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