- Title: Turkey's ruling party to review bill on underage marriage, uproar persists
- Date: 22nd November 2016
- Summary: ANKARA, TURKEY (NOVEMBER 22, 2016) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF PEOPLE DEMONSTRATING AGAINST DRAFT BILL OUTSIDE PARLIAMENT (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) PROTESTER, SEBNEM BORA, SAYING: "We are pleased that it was withdrawn. But this cannot end here. The proposal was introduced in a hurry and it was taken back to the commission in a hurry. I believe they will reintroduce this in a couple of days." WOMAN ON MEGAPHONE / PEOPLE AT DEMONSTRATION WOMAN CARRYING PLACARD READING (Turkish): "WE WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO LEGISLATE CHILD ABUSE AND RAPE" (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) PROTESTER, GOZDE CELIK, SAYING: "We don't trust any of the bills proposed by the AK Party because they will withdraw this for a short period and they will reintroduce it. This is a problem of mentality. This mentality will be reflected in another law if not in this one." WOMAN CARRYING PLACARD READING (Turkish): "THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS CHILD BRIDES ONLY PERVERT MEN" VARIOUS OF CROWD CHANTING SLOGANS (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) PROTESTER, SEVAL BALDIZ, SAYING: "It is not a solution to withdraw the draft bill. The government should annul this completely and they should discuss this with people, with women organisations and other civil society groups who are concerned about this matter." VARIOUS OF POLICE GUARDING PARLIAMENT'S ENTRANCE / PEOPLE AT DEMONSTRATION CROWD DISPERSING SKIRMISH BETWEEN POLICE OFFICER AND FEMALE PROTESTER
- Embargoed: 7th December 2016 11:06
- Keywords: Turkey politics law child abuse Binali Yildirim Devlet Bahceli MHP protests
- Location: ISTANBUL AND ANKARA, TURKEY
- City: ISTANBUL AND ANKARA, TURKEY
- Country: Turkey
- Topics: Lawmaking,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00259J126F
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: PART AUDIO QUALITY AS INCOMING
Turkey's ruling AK Party withdrew a controversial bill on underage marriage on Tuesday (November 22) which critics said could allow men accused of sexually abusing girls to avoid punishment.
But public uproar over the issue persisted with opposition and civil society groups calling for the proposed law to be scrapped altogether.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told a news conference the draft will be withdrawn from the parliament's general assembly and taken back to a commission for review.
He also promised to seek the opinion of the opposition and NGOs to reformulate it, in line with a call from President Tayyip Erdogan for a wider consensus.
The proposal, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, would have allowed sentencing in cases of sexual abuse committed "without force, threat or trick" before Nov. 16, 2016 to be indefinitely postponed if the perpetrator marries the victim.
"This issue will be reviewed in commission, and if there is a proposal we will review and amend it," Yildirim said at a press conference in Ankara.
"If not, we will solve the issue by taking into consideration the recommendations from the people and NGOs," he added.
The ruling AK Party was heavily criticised for the bill, with many parts of civil society and the opposition parties saying it would provide a legal base for sexual abuse under the pretext of underage marriages.
The government defended the proposal, saying it aimed to remedy the situation of men who are currently in jail who have married women under the age of 18 in a religious ceremony and with the consent of their family.
It rejected suggestions that the plan amounted to an "amnesty for rape".
Several thousand people carrying banners demonstrated outside parliament in Ankara, demanding the immediate cancellation of the bill.
Civil marriage under the age of 18 is illegal in Turkey, but marriage between men and underage girls through religious ceremonies is not uncommon, particularly in rural parts of the country.
Some argue that these marriages are not abusive, with the couple simply being unaware of the civil law.
The controversy comes as Turkey's hopes of joining the European Union are hanging by a thread.
Some European leaders have called for accession talks to be frozen, citing a deterioration in freedoms in the country which they say are taking it ever further from European norms.
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