16-year-old Turkish girl ‘advised’ by shelter staff ‘to marry man who impregnated her’
Mesut Hasan Benli - ANKARA
Social workers at a children’s shelter in Ankara have “advised” a girl who bore a child from a 24-year-old man at the age of 15 that it would be better for her to be married to him.
According to her account of the events, she met the person in question in a park when she was a ninth grader. In her initial testimony, the girl, now 16, had said she had collapsed in the man’s car before finding herself in the backseat of the vehicle when she gained consciousness.
She gave birth to the child in May this year in the bathroom of her family’s apartment.
The incident was referred to prosecutors who launched an investigation into the man on charges of “engaging in sexual intercourse with a minor.” While the investigation was underway, the girl ran away and started to live with the man, claiming she was subjected to violence at her parents’ house.
In July, she withdrew her complaint about the man, saying she filed it under pressure from her parents. The prosecutors had later dropped the case.
Since August, she has been living in a shelter in Ankara with her baby and appealed to a court to obtain permission to be married to the man.
Her lawyers presented a report to the court prepared by the social workers at the shelters. The report noted that her parents do not approve her decision to marry the man and do not have “constructive attitude towards her.”
“This situation affects her psychology and the development of the baby. Thus, the marriage would positively contribute to the well-being of all parties,” the report concluded.