Controversial ‘Marry-your-rapist’ bill is set to be introduced in the Turkish parliament by the end of January. This has sparked fury amongst women’s rights campaigners across the country.
Critics of the bill argue that it would not only legitimise child marriage and statutory rape but also pave the way for child abuse and sexual exploitation. Speaking about the bill, UN agencies have warned that the bill would leave victims vulnerable to experiencing additional mistreatments and distress from assailants.
Violence against women and children is prevalent in Turkey. According to a UN report, 38 per cent of Turkish woman have suffered physical and sexual violence from a partner. Another report, which was released in 2018 by the Turkish Government estimated a total of 482,908 underage girls were married in the last decade. Meanwhile, a campaign group called ‘We Will Stop Femicide estimated that some 409 women were murdered by a partner or a family member in the country in 2017.
In 2016, a similar bill was defeated after national and global outrage. In 2014, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that the equality between men and woman is ‘against nature.’ At a summit in Istanbul back in 2014. The world leader said, “You cannot put women and men on an equal footing. It is against nature.”
He urged women to have at least three children and argued a woman’s life was “incomplete” if she did not reproduce back in 2016. He further said that a woman who says ‘because I am working I will not be a mother’ is actually denying her feminity. He added that a woman who rejects motherhood, who refrains from being around the house, however successful her working life is, is deficient, is incomplete.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday hailed their countries' cooperation on the issues of Syria and Libya. They were meeting on the sidelines of a conference on Libya in Berlin, where Germany is bringing together the key players in Libya's long-running civil war in a bid to curb foreign military meddling, solidify a cease-fire and help relaunch a political process to determine the North African nation's future.