Turkey’s new charter to prevent child brides

Turkey’s new charter to prevent child brides

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey’s new charter to prevent child brides

Hürriyet photo

All four of the political parties represented at Parliament’s Constitution Reconciliation agreed in principle that a constitutional assurance should be provided for preventing child brides.

The consensus came during Nov. 8 debates on the article covering “marriage and the right to found a family,” upon a proposal by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) for preventing marriages under the legal age of consent, which in Turkey is 18 years of age.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) initially objected to the proposal and offered instead to prevent child marriages by law. After debates, full consensus was achieved between the AKP, CHP, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) to cover the issue in the new constitution.

“The state takes precautions that will prevent the marriage of girl children by force and at an early age,” the draft clause says.

On Oct. 11 of this year, the United Nations recognized its first International Day of the Girl Child with a focus on ending child marriage. The first International Day of the Girl Child was an initiative supported by UN agencies, rights groups, foundations and governments.

Inspired by the European Convention on Human Rights, which covers the right to marry and found a family, commission members decided the new constitution should also define the right to get married.
The CHP proposed an article that read: “Everybody of marriageable age has the right to marry and to found a family.”

The BDP supported the CHP’s proposal. However, both the AKP and MHP objected to such an article because of the word “everybody,” arguing that such an expression would pave the way for same-sex marriages, which they claim are against “Turkish family structure.”

The AKP and MHP insisted on drafting articles that said, “Men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry and to found a family.” They also suggested that the clause should include a note saying that the arrangement doesn’t include same-sex marriages.

As parties failed to reach an agreement and a related article – with reservations and parentheses – was written by the four parties.

However, the commission fully agreed on constitutional assurance to protect women from domestic violence.

“The state takes precautions which will prevent implementation of violence against children and women within the family,” the draft article said.