Men guilty of sexually abuse may avoid being prosecuted if they marry the victim, according to a controversial motion proposed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) that has been harshly criticized by opposition parties.
In the case of sexual abuse committed before Nov. 11, if the perpetrator marries the victim “without force or threat,” the sentence will be postponed, according to the motion.
The motion was issued with a 49-article bill in a night session in parliament attended by the AKP, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
The motion passed but the bill did not receive a majority vote, meaning the articles have not been validated yet. The assembly will gather to vote on the entire bill again on Nov. 22.
CHP Muğla deputy Ömer Süha Aldan slammed the motion, saying it will “encourage forced marriages and legalize marriage to rapists.”
“If a 50 or 60 year-old is told to marry an 11-year-old after raping her, and then marries her years later, she will suffer the consequences. If you give him a pass by marriage, the young girl will live in a prison for her whole life” Aldan said.
CHP Group Deputy Chair Özgür Özel said the motion was approved by just one vote and claimed that Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ “strategically” issued it at the last minute of the session.
MHP Deputy Chair Erkan Akçay described the motion as “outrageous.”
Minister Bozdağ slammed criticisms, arguing that the motion is valid only for verdicts given before Nov. 11 and will not be applicable in the future.
“It is a temporary regulation and it will be put into force only one time retrospectively” he told reporters on Friday, adding that there are around 3,000 people in jail that will be released with this regulation.