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The AKP’s bill on marrying off the children with their rapists and sexual harassers should immediately be withdrawn!

UPDATE on 22 November we heard the bill has been withdrawn. Women in Turkey took the streets to protest and strongly condemn harassment, rape and abuse. However we have to stay very vigilant for women’s and children’s rights. In solidarity with women in Turkey and the Kadın Koalisyonu / Women’s Coalition - Turkey.

[Istanbul, 19 November 2016, NGOs Press release shared by the EWL National Coordination in Turkey]

We will accept no bills that would legitimize rap of women and children

The AKP’s bill on marrying off the children with their rapists and sexual harassers should immediately be withdrawn!

A last-minute bill was proposed on Thursday night, 17 November 2016 to the General Assembly of GNAT (Grand National Assembly of Turkey) by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) İstanbul Deputy Mehmet Muş, İstanbul Deputy Halis Dalkılıç, Kocaeli Deputy İlyas Şeker, Kırıkkale Deputy Ramazan Can, Hatay Deputy Hacı Bayram Türkoğlu and Osmaniye Deputy Mücahit Durmuşoğlu. The bill suggests that for the crimes of sexual harassment perpetrated prior to 16 November 2016 if the perpetrator marries the victim, the sentence will be suspended and dropped following the limitation period.

In addition to this bill, the ruling party currently discusses whether to lower the age of consent to 12 by means of making amendments to the Article No.103 of the Turkish Criminal Code (TCC) despite all the objections of women’s organizations. If the Article No.103 passes into law as suggested above, majority of the perpetrators who are currently being and will be trialed as convicts of sexual abuse will have the right to assert that “the child gave consent” and thus their punishments will be abolished. Both retrospective and prospective regulations are in place with the amendments to the Article No.103 of the TCC as well as the bill proposed on the night of 17 November.

  1. With the amendment to the Article No.103, the age of consent will be lowered to 12 from 15 and the perpetrators of on-going criminal suits and those who will be convicted of sexual harassment in the future could get away with the crime. In enacting the bill, it is aimed that past sexual crimes be absolved and that the child sexual harassers be released.
  2. The bill proposed on the night of 17 November paves the way to retrospective remission of punishment for the sexual harassers.
  3. The “legal ground” is being laid down that will result in sexual violence against girls aged 12 and above and in marrying off them with their sexual harassers.

The amnesty bill proposed has been approved with the votes of AKP along with the amendment to the Article No.103 that will result in lowering of the legal age of consent to 12 are against the rights of the child and woman as well as the international obligations and therefore cannot be accepted under any circumstances. Threats and violence against the vested rights of women and girls continuously increase in Turkey. Among the most dangerous of all the threats are the amendment to the Article No.103 of TCC and the bill approved unanimously by AKP deputies, which might be passed into law at any moment. Approval of this amendment and the bill means that the article stating “releasing the perpetrator in cases where the perpetrator marries the victim” which was amended with the campaigns of the women’s organizations during the TCC Reform in 2004 when the TCC Woman Platform demanded that the foregoing article be changed, will be restored. And this, beyond any doubt, suggests retrogression in the vested legal rights of the women and girls!

While the world bands together against child sexual abuse, and forced and child marriages are prohibited and; moreover, the minimum age of marriage is increased, the course of events in Turkey is extremely desperate. Those who wish to lower the age of consent to 12, who have proposed the amnesty bill for the convicts of child sexual abuse and those who gave the “Yes” vote should urgently reverse this wrong decision. Otherwise, they will have made a mistake which will eventually pose irreversible consequences and will have usurped the rights of the children and women as the representatives of the public.

To correct this dire mistake,


all political parties at the GNAT, the press and media organizations and the sensible public, notably all the women to;

-* Support the fight for the protection of the current legal rights of women and children,
-* Support the withdrawal of the bill and the re-amendment to the Article No.103 in collaboration with the organizations for women’s and children’s rights so as to avoid the victimization of children,
-* Support us to remove the Article No.103 of TCC from the omnibus bill prior to the session to be held at the GNAT on 18 November at 14:00 during which this omnibus bill will be voted on.

(2) In sexual abuse cases (conducted until 16/11/2016) where physical coercion, threat, deception or other cause affecting will is absent and in circumstances where the victim and perpetrator gets married, adjournment of penalty announcement and postponement of execution of punishment (where verdict is already given) shall be enacted. In cases where the marriage ends within the limitation period due to wrongdoing of the perpetrator, the penalty will be announced and execution of punishment will continue. Pursuant to this article, in cases where the penalty announcement is adjourned and execution of punishment is postponed for the perpetrator, civil law suits against abettors and those contributing to the commitment of the crime will be dropped or execution of punishment will be abolished.


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Turkey NGO press release

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