Turkey withdraws controversial bill allowing rapists to marry underaged victims after widespread condemnation
Turkish women stage a protest in Ankara on November 19, 2016 after a government legislation proposal that would overturn men's convictions for child sex assault if they married their victim. (AFP/Adem Altan)
Turkish Prime Minister Binaldi Yildirim says the governing AK Party is withdrawing a proposed bill on underage marriage for further consultations.
Opposition and rights groups have said it could allow men accused of sexually abusing girls to avoid punishment.
The proposal – what it said
The proposal, a copy of which was seen by the Reuters news agency, would have allowed sentencing in cases of sexual abuse committed "without force, threat or trick" before November the 16th, 2016, to be indefinitely postponed if the perpetrator marries the victim.
The aim was to remedy the situation of men who are in jail and are married to women under 18 in a religious ceremony and with the consent of their family., the prime minister said.
What happens now?
Yildirim says the AKP will seek the opinion of the opposition and civil society groups in order to reformulate the proposal.
It is in line with a call from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for a wider consensus.
The plan will be withdrawn from parliament's general assembly and taken back to a commission.
By Catherine Hardy