Turkey hits back with '#DontTravelToSweden' Istanbul airport 'travel warning'

Turkey hits back with '#DontTravelToSweden' Istanbul airport 'travel warning'
A spat between Turkey and Sweden - over allegations that Ankara is about to 'legalise' child marriage - has just got uglier.
3 min read
19 Aug, 2016
The two foreign ministers have been locked in an online war of words [AFP]
The Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallstrom has caused anger in Ankara after sending out a tweet attacking a recent decision by the Turkish constitutional court to annul a law protecting children from abuse.

The Turkish court said it would change a law punishing anyone who sexually abuses children aged under 15.

Ankara said that cases would be dealt with individually and judges would give harsher punishments to those who abuse infants. A new law would be enacted to protect children, they said.

"Turkish decision to allow sex with children under 15 must be reversed. Children need more protection, not less, against violence, sex abuse," the tweet read. 

Turkey's age of consent is 18, and has not been changed by the ruling, but many believe that the decision will pave the way for increased abuse against children.

Wallstrom's comment follows a statement displayed at Vienna International Airport, claiming that Turkey allows sexual intercourse with children under the age of 15. It was quickly taken down after protests from Ankara.

Disgruntled Turkish twitter users took to social media, saying the claims are false. 

Istanbul's International Ataturk Airport reportedly hit back at the Swedish minister's remark with a news ticker reading: "Travel Warning! Did you know that Sweden has the highest rape rate worldwide?"

It prompted further "travel warnings" on Twitter with #DontTravelToSweden became a top trending hashtag in Turkey.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu slammed Wallstrom's statement.

"It is alarming that the slander campaign that started in Austria - the capital of racism and Islamophobia - is spreading into Sweden which is actually more sensitive on human rights," he said.