Turks are against underage marriage: Survey
Almost all Turks are against underage marriage, according to a recent survey’s results, which have been revealed amid a hot debate over the Turkish religious authority’s stance on the matter.
Some 84 percent of participants in a survey conducted by the Konda research company believe the minimum age for a marriage should be “above the age of 18,” whereas 13 percent say “the age of 18.”
Only 1 percent of survey participants responded “below the age of 18,” according to the results, collected under a report by Konda named “Discussions on Marriage and Marriage Age and Sexual Abuse.”
After taking an average of the survey responses, the research company found the desired minimum age for women to marry as 21 and 24 for men.
The survey was conducted face-to face with a total of 2,653 people from Dec. 3-4, 2016 in Turkey’s 32 provinces.
Female participants chose a higher minimum age of marriage for men and women in comparison to male participants.
The minimum age of marriage chosen by respondents also increased as participants’ education level increased.
Participants who labeled their lifestyles as “modern” also responded with a higher minimum age than those who labeled themselves as “conservative” or “religious.”
The survey also asked participants how right or wrong it was for a victim of sexual abuse to be forced to marry their abuser. Some 90 percent of those interviewed found this social fact as “definitely wrong,” while 4 percent found it “wrong,” 2 percent found it “partially wrong” and 3 percent found it “right.”
The survey came at a time when Turkish Religious Affairs, Diyanet, clarified on Jan. 3 that the lowest age limit for marriage should be 17 for girls and 18 for men.
Diyanet official Ekrem Keleş said the statements on the Diyanet website had been twisted in media reports.
“A girl should not marry before the age of 17 and a boy should not marry before the age of 18. No one should have their child marry before the age of 15. This is against Islam,” Keleş told daily Hürriyet.
Keleş made the comments after reactions rose against Diyanet for the “Dictionary of Religious Terms” on its website for including some definitions that said “Girls go through puberty at the age of nine and boys at 12” and that “those who have gone through puberty may marry.”
“A child at the ages of 9 or ten, let alone at the age of 15, should not marry or be forced to marry. The reasoning behind this is purely biological and explains no one should be forced to marry before puberty ... Unless a person is ready psychologically, they should not marry,” he said.
“How could someone be ready before these ages [17 for girls, 18 for boys]? One should be capable of the responsibilities that come with being a mother and father, otherwise it could be problematic for society,” Keleş said.
Meanwhile, Diyanet closed its online “Dictionary for Religious Terms” on Jan. 4 following the discussion surrounding the issue.