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Turkey withdraws child marriage bill, submits it for review

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In a press conference held yesterday, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said that the AK Party had "withdrawn" the proposal from the parliamentary committee and would review it before bringing it to the Parliament.

It would have deferred sentencing or punishment for sexual assault of minors in cases where there was no physical force and where the victim and perpetrator were married. We can't allow Turkey to approve a bill excusing child marriage or rape in any form.

"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", Aldan said. "Because I desire to live in a country where we can still live".

Some waved banners with slogans such as "Rape can not be legitimised" and "AKP, take your hands off my body".

Critics, which include the opposition, celebrities, an association whose deputy chairman is Erdoğan's daughter, are anxious that the bill - which if passed is likely to quash almost 3,000 convictions - would also legitimize child marriage in addition to overlooking child sexual assault.

An online petition circulated by Turkish citizens this week had collected over 800,000 signatures against the legislation. "If you give him a pass by marriage, the young girl will live in a prison for her whole life". "We would like to draw attention to issues that might arise in case of it coming into force". "We can not ignore this issue".

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"There are people who get married before reaching the legal age". He also maintains "the victimization of those 3000 families will be "eliminated for just one time". This is our struggle - and clearly there is an issue here", he said.

The AKP says the law aims to pardon men who did not realise they were engaging in sex with a minor.

The latest bill came after Turkey's constitutional court annulled part of the criminal code in July which classified all sexual acts with children under 15 as sexual abuse, a change that also prompted uproar.

However, campaigners have accused the government of failing to do enough to stamp out child marriage and of being more interested in encouraging an increase in the birth rate.

"As thousands of demonstrators have shown, women's rights are not negotiable", Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International's deputy director for Europe, said in a written statement. Some European leaders have called for accession talks to be frozen, citing a deterioration in freedoms in the country which they say are taking it ever further from European norms.

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