Turkey moving backwards: Bill proposed for rapists to marry their victims to have sentences lifted
Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag denies the legislation has anything to do with legitimising rape. (AFP/File)
Turkey's ruling AK Party has been widely condemned for a proposal that would, critics say, legalise rape in some cases.
The suggested law would see people who have been convicted on charges of sexual abuse against girls have their sentences indefinitely postponed if they agree to marry the victim.
This would only apply in cases occurring before November 16, in instances where no "force, threat or trick" was committed.
The AKP says the law aims to pardon men who did not realise they were engaging in sex with a minor. Civil marriage under the age of 18 is illegal in Turkey, but marriage between men and underage girls through a religious ceremony is common in some parts of the country.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim defended the draft, saying:
"There are those who got married under-age. They don't know the law, then they have kids, the father goes to jail and the children are alone with their mother. We located 3,000 families like this. This is a law to eliminate this victimisation for just one time."
The proposal will be reconsidered on November 22 after failing to garner enough support from legislators.
Critics claim it legitimises both sexual abuse and child marriage and say it raises the question of how young is too young?