A child should not be forced into marriage: Turkey's top cleric

A child should not be forced into marriage: Turkey's top cleric

A child should not be forced into marriage: Turkeys top cleric

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A child should not be forced into marriage even if the parents give their consent to it, Turkey’s top cleric said, referring to a verse in the Quran on the importance of marriage.

“Marriage is a great contract which should not be underestimated. Our Almighty God describes in the Quran that weddings are a big contract which have heavy responsibilities. It is not possible to marry off a child who has not yet reached the age of being a mother, and has not yet decided to become a spouse even if the parents have given their consent,” the head of Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), Mehmet Görmez, said in a meeting in Antalya on Nov. 28.

Görmez’s words were in reference to a controversial bill in parliament that regulated the crime of sexual abuse of minors by postponing the conviction if the child marries the perpetrator. Görmez said any regulation that paves the way for sexual abuse should not be approved by the judiciary and the legal system.

“It is very saddening that child marriages were discussed despite that [verse in the Quran],” he said.

“The state guarantees pride and honor for all who live under its wings without any discrimination. In this context, rights violations and rape should not go unpunished. Of course, if there are grievances, it should be resolved by discussing it thoroughly. In order not to create new victims, they should be handled with care. It is essential to ensure that moral principles and the right knowledge dominates lives in society,” the head of the Diyanet said.