Turkey scraps law shielding child rapists
ANKARA: Turkey has abandoned plans for a controversial law that would have allowed men who had sex with underage children to be pardoned if they married the victim.
The reversal came after Parliament approved the Bill in an initial reading on Thursday, and prepared for a second debate of the law yesterday.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told reporters the government would ask an allparty commission to review the proposal.
The plan provoked fury in the country and saw thousands take to the streets on Saturday in protest.
The government had insisted the law would help resolve the legal challenges caused by widespread child marriage but critics said the Bill legitimised rape.
The law would have allowed men who sexually abused girls under 18 without “force, threat or any restriction on consent” and then married them, to have their convictions quashed or avoid prosecution.
The change would have applied to cases between 2005 and Nov 16.
The latest Bill came after Turkey’s constitutional court annulled part of the criminal code in July which classified all sexual acts with children under 15 as sexual abuse, a change that also prompted uproar.
Although Turkey’s legal age of consent is 18, child marriage is widespread, with an estimated 15% of girls married before 18, making it one of the highest rates of child marriage in Europe. – The Independent