ISTANBUL — The Turkish Parliament yesterday met to discuss proposed changes to the Turkish Penal Code, which will aim to prevent underage and forced marriages of girls under the age of 17 and will initiate a public information campaign.
The Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM) gathered to discuss a draft bill, including amendments to the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) and certain laws. The draft bill includes a series of amendments to combat underage and forced marriages, including a public information campaign and monitoring of children. The Turkish Penal Code will be amended to criminalize forced marriages of girls under the age of 17. Girls in forced marriages will be treated as victims of sexual abuse and their husbands will be charged and sentenced.
Currently, underage marriage includes children who are married under the age of 15 and it is legally prohibited and regarded as sexual abuse even if a legal complaint is not filed by the girl or others.
The amendments will include girls up to the age of 17, particularly those forced by their families to marry their rapists. The amendments allow for the release of detainees who cannot live alone due to fatal disease or disability on condition that they do not pose a concrete or serious risk to society. Those detainees serving sentences for crimes of sexual assault, sexual abuse, sexual intercourse with underage persons and drug trafficking can be released on probation on the condition that they undergo medical treatment, do not live in the same neighborhood as their victim and do not work in places that deal with children.
The draft bill stipulates the establishment of a court of appeals in administrative judiciary and makes amendments to the Supreme Court's structure. Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ stated during the parliamentary discussion that the government is planning to amend the personal rights of judicial officials of the Supreme Court, State Council and administrative and judicial justice.
As the TBMM discussed the draft bill, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Muğla deputy Ömer Suha Aldan claimed that the draft bill not only includes significant structural amendments over the judiciary but also personal amendments. He said, "Most of the amendments stipulate changes to current laws. The TBMM has turned into a 'law repair shop.' All we do is change laws; it looks like a jigsaw puzzle."
Aldan stated that the draft bill was introduced as if it stipulated harsher measures to prevent violence against women and children, but it actually has no significant consequences for domestic violence.
The People's Democratic Party (HDP) Şırnak deputy, Hasip Kaplan, said there are already measures in place, but they are not enough to prevent violence, that's why what is needed is precautionary measures against such crimes. "There is no justice in this country. I served as a criminal lawyer for 30 years, but still draft bills are only Fabian tactics to trick people," he said.