Turkey forced to withdraw controversial child sex law
Turkey's government has withdrawn a controversial proposal that critics said would have allowed men accused of sexually abusing under-age girls to go free if they were married to their victims.
The proposal, which was scheduled for a final vote in parliament yesterday, would have deferred sentencing for sexual assault of minors in cases where there was no physical force and where the victim and perpetrator were married.
The government said it would submit the proposal to a parliamentary committee for review.
The age of consent in Turkey is 18, although courts permit civil marriages from 16. Many younger people are married in Islamic ceremonies.
The government has argued for the need to redress "unfair treatment" of families where men were jailed for marrying girls under the age of 18 even if both parties and their parents consented. The proposal was made by the ruling Justice and Development Party, rooted in Turkey's Islamic movement.