Turkey Considering Law Allowing Pedophiles to Avoid Charges By Marrying Their Victims
So-called 'marry your rapist' bill being considered by Turkish MPs
MPs in Turkey are considering a new so-called "marry your rapist" bill that would allow pedophiles to escape punishment by marrying their victims.
The controversial new law is set to be put to the Turkish parliament that would allow men accused of abusing children under the legal age of consent - 18-years-old in Turkey - to have rape charges dropped if they get married to their victims.
The "marry your rapist" bill is set to be introduced to parliament for Turkish MPs to debate at the end of this month.
Critics argue that the proposed law legitimizes statutory rape and forced child marriage, and allows sexual exploitation and child abuse to become rife.
The United Nations has also warned the law legalizes child rape and would lead to child abusers acting with impunity, leaving victims even more vulnerable.
The bill has also been blasted by opposition MPs, who warn that the law would lead to children being forced into "marriages" against their will while encouraging further abuse.
The Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) is urging the government to drop the proposal.
In 2016, a similar bill was put before Turkey's parliament but it was withdrawn after sparking worldwide outrage.
The controversial proposal would have involved girls aged 15 or younger and applied to statutory rape cases without the use of "force, threat, or any other restriction on consent."
But Turkey's ruling AK Party shelved the proposed bill on underage marriage for further consultations.
In 2017, Turkish MPs passed a new law to allow Islamic muftis to conduct civil marriage ceremonies.
The move was criticized for undermining Turkey's secular constitution and opening the door for an increase in child brides being forced to marry abusive men.
In Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine, women's rights activists and politicians have fought against similar legal loopholes to be removed in recent years.
In the past, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been accused of sexism after saying women are not equal to men.
Erdogan also claims that feminists in Turkey reject the idea of motherhood.
Ahead of international women's day in 2018, the Turkish leader blamed the media for a rise in cases of domestic violence against women and child abuse, ordering journalists to not report such incidents.
In 2016, at Turkey's Women and Democracy Association in Istanbul, Erdogan urged women to have at least three children, saying a woman who rejects motherhood is "deficient" and "incomplete."
In 2014, Erdogan said biological differences meant women and men could not serve the same functions.
Manual work was unsuitable for the "delicate nature" of women, he added.
The legal age of consent in Turkey is 18, but a government report published in 2018 on child marriage estimates a total of 482,908 underage girls were married over the last ten years.