Turkey withdraws child rape bill

Turkey withdraws child rape bill

BBC:-Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has withdrawn a bill that pardons men convicted of sex with underage girls if they have married them.

The bill, part of a package of amendments to the legal system, was sent back for further work just hours before a final vote in parliament.

It had sparked protests across Turkish society and was condemned abroad.

Critics said it would legitimise statutory rape and encourage the practice of taking child brides.

UN agencies had called on the government not to approve the bill, arguing that it would damage the country’s ability to combat sexual abuse and child marriage.

But the government says the main aim is to exonerate men imprisoned for marrying an underage girl apparently with her or her family’s consent.

Turkey’s legal age of consent is 18 but the practice of underage weddings in religious ceremonies remains widespread.

Prime Minister Yildirim said the bill was being sent back in order to allow for “broad consensus” and to “give time for the opposition parties to develop their proposals”.

Opposition parties heavily criticised the bill which had been approved in an initial parliamentary reading on Thursday.

The ruling AK Party dominates parliament in Ankara.

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