Turkey withdraws motion to pardon sex offenders if they marry their underage victims

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) party will withdraw a controversial motion on the sexual abuse of minors, after the proposal faced nation-wide rejection of the motion. It was argued that it would pave the way for sexual abusers to escape justice, unpunished.

These issues will be discussed at a [parliamentary] commission. If a proposal comes from them [the opposition], it will be developed. If not, we will fix the issue by taking on board the suggestions of NGOs, citizens, experts and academics. Politics is the place where problems get fixed,” Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said Tuesday.

He added that the government’s decision to withdraw the motion back to the commission was also partially influenced by President Erdoğan’s call to reach a “consensus” on the issue.

Speaking about the motion for the first time on Monday, Erdoğan suggested that the problem should be “solved with a wide consensus,” urging the government to heed criticisms and suggestions from the entire spectrum of society.

I see a great benefit for the government in solving this issue through a broad consensus by paying attention to criticism and suggestions from different segments of the public,” he told state-run Anadolu Agency.

The bill created uproar in Turkey as it would have provided pardons for some men who sexually assaulted underage girls if they marry their victims.

The motion stipulated a postponement of the announcement of verdicts for cases of sexual assault committed before 16th November in the event that the victim and the perpetrator had married each other, while also suspending sentences in cases in which the verdict had already been announced.


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