Animal rights in Turkey — a new law (Part 1)

Animals are mistreated in this country every day. They are beaten, tortured, killed, raped, abandoned and whatever other evil thing you can or cannot imagine is done to animals without hesitation by humans who are actually an inferior form of life.
Unfortunately, we read many news articles almost on a daily basis about how an animal is killed or tortured. I recently came across a short video on the Internet showing a sadistic man kicking a donkey off a cliff for no reason. It left me speechless. I donand’t know what drove that person to commit such a vile action.
h2 Violence against animals is not an offence: It must sanctioned as a crimeh2 At present, there is no legislation in Turkey that protects the rights of animals. A man who kills a cat — even in front of a police station — would not be subject to any proper sanction that would cause him to hesitate before committing the act, even if his misdeed was witnessed by 1,000 people. There are no sanctions to prevent such an inhumane act. In terms of levels of sanctions, such an act is equal to walking on the grass in a public park: the only probable sanction would be a fine of few hundred lira. It is unfair for minor public offences and violence against animals to both be in the category of civil disobedience.
The good news is that some attempts have finally been made to protect animal rights in Turkey. I congratulate Republican Peopleand’s Party (CHP) deputies Melda Onur and Umut Oran, who have worked on a draft bill that would change the current law to better protect animals against the violence of humans.
In the draft bill, any violence against animals is classified as a crime and categorized in the criminal code. If the bill is passed in Parliament, it would mean that at least there will be a chance that anyone committing a violent act against an animal would be brought before a court and possibly be sent to prison andor fined. Such an act would also result in a criminal record for the perpetrator and might result in more severe sanctions in the case of a repeated act of such violence.
In the draft bill, anyone who intentionally beats, commits a cruel act against or abandons an animal will be subject to two to four yearsand’ imprisonment depending on the caseand’s merits. The sentence will be the same — depending on the merits of any such particular case — for anyone who seriously neglects, harms or hurts an animal in any way.
Those who torture or rape animals will be subject to three to five yearsand’ imprisonment. Those who traffic animals will be sent to prison for between one to two years. The killing of an animal will be subject to three to six yearsand’ imprisonment. To make it clear, these sanctions do not relate to religious rituals, livestock killed for food or the licensed hunting of and consumption of animals.
I suppose there will always be some level of stupidity, such as someone claiming they killed a dog to eat it. But I guess a Turkish judge would not buy such a plea of innocence. This reminded me of a scene from the movie and”The Deviland’s Aocate,and” where one of Satanand’s companions kills animals as part of a voodoo ritual. I guess this kind of action would also be subject to criminal sanctions under the anticipated law.
The sanctions in the draft bill are clearly more severe than current regulations. However, the making of a law and making it work in practice are very different. The legal authorities and the local police and gendarmerie must take serious care of the law and the authorities must be keen to take it seriously.
Please kindly follow up on the second part of this article next week.
NOTE: Berk andcektir is a Turkish lawyer and available to answer questions on the legal aspects of living and doing business in Turkey. Please kindly send inquiries to If a senderand’s letter is published, names may be disclosed unless otherwise is expressly stated by the sender.
DISCLAIMER: The information provided here is intended to give basic legal information. You should get legal assistance from a licensed attorney at law while conducting legal transactions and not rely solely on the information in this column.