Turkey’s Parliament Set To Legalise Child Rape of ‘Married’ Victims
A new bill proposed by the Turkish parliament will allow those who rape underage children to be pardoned for the crime as long as they marry the victim after the act.
The ruling party of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the AKP, has provoked outcry after they proposed the bill which would see the pardoning over some 3,000 child rapists. According to the AKP, the bill is intended to benefit men who have had sex with a minor they are in a relationship with, and deal with the complications of child marriage within the country the Telegraphreports.
The new bill would be a reversal of a law that was passed over a decade ago in 2005 that criminalized child rape regardless if the victim and the attacker were married or not. The new bill also stipulates that if the marriage does not work out and the two parties agree to a divorce then the rapist would once again be arrested for the crime and continue any deferred sentence.
Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdag defended the bill saying that it would help in cases where the girl became pregnant by keeping the man around in her life and able to provide economic assistance to her and their child.
“Those who say ‘rapists will benefit from this’ are distorting the situation,” he added.
While the bill was introduced for a vote on Thursday night, it did not meet the required number of votes to pass into law, but will once again return for a vote on Tuesday.
Opposition party MP Ozgur Ozel said, “Sexual abuse is a crime and there is no consent in it. This is what the AKP fails to understand,” the Republican People’s Party member added, “Seeking the consent of a child is something that universal law does not provide for.”
MP Omer Suha Aldan of the CHP said, “if a 50- or 60-year-old is told to marry an 11-year-old girl after raping her, and then marries her years later, she will suffer the consequences,” noting that, “if you give him a pass by marriage, the young girl will live in prison her whole life.”
The Turkish Supreme Court sparked controversy earlier this year over underage sexual relations after they annulled a law regarding age of consent to effectively legalize sex with children as young as twelve. The international community was outraged over the ruling and it led to a diplomatic row between Turkey and the governments of Sweden and Austria.
Critics of the government of President Erdogan have claimed that his government is progressively destroying the secular legacy of Kemal Ataturk and making Turkish society vastly more Islamic. The parliamentary speaker for the AKP even suggested that the Turkish constitution should be distinctly Islamic earlier this year.
Kurdish opposition leader Selahattin Demirtas even accused Erdogan of attempting to revive the old Islamic Caliphate. Mr. Demirtas was arrested earlier this month along with other Kurdish leaders by the government who claim they support terrorists.