Turkish army in rape scandal

A major scandal, linked to the Turkish army stationed in the TRNC, has been brewing, following claims that soldiers have been raped by a senior officer. Staff Major Oktay was charged with rape.

Because the alleged incidents did not relate to his military duties, legal action was taken in the civil courts.

Staff Major Oktay, remained under arrest while the charges which related to incidents that occurred five years ago were being investigated. He was serving in the 28th Cyprus mechanised Infantry Division and used to order soldiers and non-commissioned officers to his room where he would indulge in massaging them. He then went further with the unsuspecting soldiers.

If any soldiers protested, he would tell them, “I am your commander, I order you. Otherwise I will finish you”. When the soldiers accepted his orders, he would have sex with them.

The soldiers involved kept these activities secret out of shame and fear of their commander. However the matters eventually came to the attention of Captain Suleyman who was serving in the same unit. He carefully noted the activities of his fellow officer and interviewed every soldier that was summoned to the Major’s room. These soldiers confessed to him in tears.

At the prompting of Captain Suleyman, four of the soldiers who had been raped eventually filed a complaint with the military prosecutor. Six more soldiers also complained, saying that they had been deeply scarred psychologically, by their experiences.

The General Staff command responded swiftly to these allegations. Two officers were assigned to investigate the case. Forensic reports and witness statements confirmed the allegations made. Staff Major Oktay was charged with sexual harassment and sexual assault.

The soldiers involved all gave statements showing that the assaults were carried out between October 2006 and January 2007.

However, Staff Major Oktay denied all the charges against him and instead said that he was the victim of a conspiracy. At the end of the trial, he was found guilty and sentenced to 2 years and 3 months imprisonment. He was also discharged from the army.

There was a twist to this story in that the military prosecutor, unhappy with the lenient sentence given, successfully petitioned for a re-trial.

A new trial has now begun in Istanbul.

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