Turkey airport ad warns against visiting Sweden due to rape
The ad was apparently placed in retaliation for a similar news ticker at the Vienna airport last week claiming Turkey allows sex with children
A pro-government Turkish newspaper placed an ad at Istanbul’s main airport on Friday warning against travel to Sweden due to alleged high incidences of rape, the state-run news agency reported, in the latest escalation of tensions between Turkey and its European allies.
Anadolu Agency said the ad by Gunes newspaper appeared on two billboards at Ataturk Airport’s International Terminal and read in Turkish and in English: “Travel Warning! Did you know that Sweden has the highest rape rate worldwide?”
The ad was apparently placed in retaliation for a similar news ticker at the Vienna airport last week claiming Turkey allows sex with children and a subsequent tweet by Sweden’s foreign minister calling on Turkey to respect child rights.
Turkish decision to allow sex with children under 15 must be reversed. Children need more protection, not less, against violence, sex abuse.
— Margot Wallström (@margotwallstrom) August 14, 2016
Both incidents were in response to an earlier decision by Turkey’s Constitutional Court to scrap an article in the penal code defining sexual acts against children as abuse, triggering concern among children’s rights advocates that the move will lead to an increase in child sexual abuse cases. Turkish officials said the article was scrapped on a technicality and that parliament has six months in which to enact new legislation.
The Turkish foreign ministry summoned diplomats from both countries following the incidents, which Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu claimed reflected the “racism, anti-Islamic and anti-Turkish [trend] in Europe”.
On Friday, the Swedish Embassy in Ankara suggested on its website that the information was based on “misconceptions”. It said that comparing reported rapes in Sweden to those in other countries “does not describe reality correctly” due to different legal and statistical systems.
Tensions between Turkey and Europe have been running high following the attempted coup on July 15 in which more than 270 people died.
Ankara accuses its European allies of not providing the elected government sufficient support in the face of the attempted coup or its crackdown on suspected coup plotters. Meanwhile European nations have voiced concern over Turkey’s pursuit of alleged supporters of a religious movement led by US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara claims orchestrated last month’s violent coup.
In a related development, the southern Turkish resort town of Alanya decided to cancel a twinning arrangement with the Austrian town of Schwechat following last week’s news ticker incident, Anadolu reported.