A pro-government Turkish newspaper placed an advert in Istanbul’s main airport warning travellers visiting Sweden they could be raped.
Gunes newspaper placed the warning on two billboards in Ataturk Airport’s International Terminal. “Travel Warning! Did you know that Sweden has the highest rape rate worldwide?” read one billboard.
Sweden has the highest rape rates per capita in Europe,but not in the world.
It comes after a news ticker at Vienna airport carried the headline, “Turkey allows sex with children under the age of 15”, following a controversial ruling by Turkey’s supreme court that sex with minors under 15 should no longer be classified as child abuse.
Sweden’s foreign minister Margot Wallström criticised the decision, calling on Turkey to defend children’s rights.
In response, Ankara summoned both Austria and Sweden’s ambassadors. Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the claims highlighted the “racism, anti-Islamic and anti-Turkish (attitude) in Europe”.
After Turkey’s Constitutional Court released a statement saying: “Sexual abuse actions against children will not be decriminalised and will not remain unpunished, and the legislative body will be provided the opportunity to make a new regulation within the scope set out in the grounds.”
The statement went on to say that current laws criminalising sex with children would remain in place until January, when they would be replaced with new legislation. However, the court did not state whether these new laws would legalise sex with children.