Necessary precautions to be taken against ‘abduction tradition’ in villages: Turkish family minister

Necessary precautions to be taken against ‘abduction tradition’ in villages: Turkish family minister

Meltem Özgenç – ANKARA
Necessary precautions to be taken against ‘abduction tradition’ in villages: Turkish family minister

AA photo

Turkish authorities will implement necessary measures to prevent child marriages via abduction after reports emerged that underage girls were being kidnapped and forced into marriage in exchange for payments to their families in two İzmir villages, Turkish Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya has said.

“There are crimes such as the abduction of girls, underage marriages and paying bride prices here. The necessary measures will be taken,” Sayan Kaya told daily Hürriyet, characterizing the incidents in the Sırımlı and Olgunlar villages in İzmir’s Kiraz district as “absolutely unacceptable.”

“We are trying to educate our girls and strengthen their position in society. Bad traditions such as paying bride prices should be eliminated. It’s unacceptable to limit a person’s freedom and treat her as if she is an object. Marriage is a very significant bond that individuals above the age determined by the law should establish with their own consent. Contrary situations are not suitable for human existence or conscience,” she said. 

According to villagers in the villages of Sırımlı and Olgunlar, it is a tradition to abduct girls between the ages of 12 and 21 and then pay the families money to maintain their silence about the matter.

One abducted girl, 15-year-old Ş.A., was rescued in a police operation after 85 days in captivity when her family rebelled against the tradition. Another abducted girl, 14-year-old E.S., was missing for over 50 days, with her family applying to authorities for her return.

Sayan Kaya, who thanked the parents of Ş.A. for rejecting the tradition and not abandoning their child, said psychologists and specialists had met the girl and her family.

“We will provide the necessary education and consulting support. We are with them with our economic and legal support. I’ve been following the incident closely via our personnel since the very beginning. Our social workers and psychologists are meeting with people in the Sırımlı and Olgunlar villages and telling them how wrong the situation is and the harm that comes from it. Our teams will continue their briefing and education efforts in the villages,” she said. 

“A detailed and large-scale work will be conducted in the area,” she said, adding that specialists would stay in the area until the problem is solved.

“We will take permanent precautions in order to prevent incidents like these from happening again, and we will produce solutions. We are carrying out a number of projects to promote the education of girls as part of our measures against underage marriages,” she said.