Middle East Turkey

Turkish PM Withdraws Bill to Allow Rapists to Marry Victims

(GPA) Ankara – After a bill was proposed to the Turkish parliament that would allow rapists to marry their victims to avoid imprisonment, the Turkish prime minister has withdrawn the proposal.

The proposed bill has been withdrawn after massive protests in the streets of Turkey. The bill would’ve pardoned rapists even if their victims were underage if they received the permission to marry the victim from the victim’s family or the victim herself. Although it is unlikely a victim would agree to this, some families in Turkey’s growing Islamist circles might have to avoid “shame on their family.”

The ruling party (Erdogan’s AKP) and their prime minister originally defended the bill saying it would not “provide amnesty to rapists.” It’s hard to trust a country that already has a record of sanctioning child abuse, such as when, in July, the country’s constitutional court annulled a portion of criminal laws that designated all sexual acts with children under 15 as a form of rape. By the Turkish justice ministry’s own figures, child abuse cases have tripled in the last ten years and almost 16,000 girls under the age of 15 have become mothers since 2002.

Flickr: faruk
Flickr: faruk

Then I’ll was withdrawn after massive protests broke out in cities across the country; the largest of which consisted of around 3,000 people in Istanbul. There was also concern voiced by the international community, including the UN children’s fund who said they also felt the bill legitimized rape.

Turkey doesn’t often respond to protest; in fact the most massive demonstrations are usually those in favor of Erdogan and the AKP, who now hold a majority in parliament. Hopefully the Turks involved in protesting this will also begin to protest the other abuses their government is carrying out in their name.