Turkey postpones vote of controversial abuse draft

Ankara, Nov 20 (IANS) Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has ordered his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to talk with the opposition regarding the controversial sexual abuse draft, which is postponed in parliament to November 22.

The Prime Minister’s remarks came after Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag spoke to the press to justify the draft, Xinhua news agency quoted Hurriyet News as saying on Saturday.

Bozdag said on Friday that such early marriages are “common,” and around 3,000 men are currently in prison due to the current law.

“The courts only consider the age and give sentences of 16 years regardless of circumstances. They do not consider whether the underage marriage has happened with or without the consent of the traditions of the families,” he said.

The 49-article draft amending the code of criminal procedure was issued in parliament at night session on Thursday.

The bill did not receive a majority vote, meaning the articles have not been validated yet. The assembly will gather to vote on the entire bill again on November 22.

Men guilty of sexually abuse of children may avoid being prosecuted if they get married to the victim, according to a controversial motion proposed by members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) that has been harshly criticised by opposition parties.

In cases of sexual abuse of children committed before November 16 “without force or threat,” if the perpetrator marries his victim the sentence will be postponed or the execution of the offence will be adjourned, according to the draft.