urkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, left, speaks with Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom during a meeting of the North Atlantic Council at NATO headquarters in Brussels. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also accused his Swedish counterpart of spreading "lies" after she called on Ankara to protect children's rights through her Twitter account.
Turkey protested to Austria over a news ticker at Vienna's airport that claimed Turkey allows sex with children under age 15.
Cavusoglu said he would hold a telephone conversation with Wallstrom later on Monday to complain about the "slander and lie." A ministry statement said Turkey was "attached to its international obligations" regarding children's rights and was "conscious of its responsibilities." Cavusoglu said the Justice Ministry was working on new legislation that would address the issue of proportionality and insisted there was no legal void that would allow child abuse.
A senior official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said anyone abusing a child "right now" will receive between eight and 15 years in prison.
Turkey, in turn, has described Austria as the "capital of radical racism." European nations have voiced concern over Turkey's massive crackdown on alleged supporters of a religious movement led by U.
Cavusoglu said the reports that appeared in Austria and Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom's tweet were a reflection of the "racism, anti-Islamic and anti-Turkish (trend) in Europe." Turkey's Court last month scrapped an article in the penal code that defined all 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.
The court justices voted 7-6 to uphold a local court which argued that all cases should be reviewed individually and that someone who abuses a 4-year-old should not receive the same punishment as someone who has consensual sex with a 15-year-old.
The previous law remains in force for six months, giving Parliament time to enact a new law, while children's rights advocates will seek to have the judgment reversed at the European Court of Human Rights.
Wallstrom tweeted on Sunday: "Turkish decision to allow sex with children under 15 must be reversed.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara claims orchestrated last month's violent coup attempt that killed at least 270 people.