Turkish diplomat may face sexual harassment charges in Taipei

A senior Turkish diplomat based in Taipei who scuffled with police officers in a bar last month may be charged with sexual harassment and other offenses as Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Thursday that the official does not have diplomatic immunity here.

The ministry on Tuesday informed the Ministry of Justice of its findings pertaining to the status of Halil Ibrahim Dokuyucu, deputy head of the Turkish Trade Office in Taipei, said Eleanor Wang, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).

Dokuyucu's actions, therefore, will be handled in accordance with Taiwan's normal legal process, said Wang.

The envoy may be charged with not just sexual harassment but also obstruction of official duties if the police decide to press charges as well as the woman who claimed to have been harassed.

Taiwan and Turkey do not have formal ties but have reciprocal diplomatic missions operating under names other than an embassy.

On July 3, Dokuyucu allegedly fondled a woman at a bar in Taipei's upscale Daan District, despite her protests, and got into a scuffle with the police who were called to the scene.

The woman, said to be a single mother who works as a project manager at a technology firm, said she will press criminal charges against Dokuyucu and will seek NT$1 million (US$31,526) in damages.

In a newspaper interview Wednesday, she said that if she won the suit she would donate the money to two charitable organizations that assist victims of sexual harassment.

When taken to a police station for questioning after the incident at the bar, Dokuyucu claimed that he enjoys diplomatic immunity, according to information released by the Taipei City Police Department's Daan Precinct.

Over the past few weeks, MOFA has been seeking to verify the status of Taiwanese and Turkish diplomats regarding immunity in each other's countries but Turkish authorities have not responded to its inquiries on the issue, Wang said.

There was no immediate reaction from the Turkish Trade Office in Taipei to MOFA's latest comments on the issue.

Source: Focus Taiwan