PM orders his AKP to talk with opposition on controversial abuse draft
ANKARAPrime Minister Binali Yıldırım has ordered his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to talk to the opposition parties regarding the controversial sexual abuse draft, which is postponed in parliament to Nov. 22.
The prime minister's remarks came almost one hour after Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ spoke to the press to justify the draft.
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 AKP that has been harshly criticized by opposition parties and women's rights groups.
In cases of sexual abuse of children committed before Nov. 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.
Under the present civil code, marriage under the age of 17 is prohibited. The marriage of children aged 16 is subject to court action, while according to the criminal law a public case is opened automatically for all sexual offenses against children 15 years old and under.
Hospitals and schools are obliged to notify the authorities of early marriages upon learning of such cases, such as if an underage girl goes to hospital to give birth. As public cases are currently opened automatically when the girl is 15, the male responsible is tried for sexual abuse regardless of their age.
Among the women's rights groups that reacted to the draft was the Women and Democracy Association (KADEM), which issued a statement saying one of the biggest problems with the bill is its failure to determine elements related to "compulsion, threat and will."
KADEM, of which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's daughter Sümeyye Erdoğan is among the managers, also questioned how the "willpower” of a girl will be determined in such cases, suggesting that new regulations could be made on the issue.
Hürriyet columnist Ayşe Baykal said she witnessed the women from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) objecting to the government for the first time.