Turkey's Ministry of Family and Social Policies has launched an extensive probe against the abduction tradition in Turkish villages, according to Minister Fatma Betül Sayan-Kaya.
Turkish authorities will implement measures to prevent abductions following reports that underage girls were being kidnapped and forced into marriage in two Izmir villages.
Speaking to Turkish daily Hürriyet, Minister Sayan-Kaya described two incidents of the abduction of young girls from the Sırımlı and Olgunlar villages in İzmir's Kiraz district as "absolutely unacceptable." According to villagers in the region, it is a tradition to kidnap girls between the ages of 12 and 21 and then pay their families to stay quiet about the issue.
"We are trying to educate our girls and strengthen their position in society," Sayan said.
"Traditions such as paying bride prices should be eliminated. It's unacceptable to limit a person's freedom and treat a girl as if she is an object."
"Marriage is a very significant bond that individuals above the age determined by the law should establish with their own consent. Contrary situations are not suitable for human existence or conscience," she added.
The abductions previously came to agenda of the Parliament as main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Izmir deputy Atila Sertel directed a parliamentary question to Sayan-Kaya regarding the abductions and underage marriages in exchange for money.
He stated that in Kiraz district alone, the number of families who applied to police for their children's abduction and later withdrew their complaints in 2016 are as many as 20, while the practice remains a problem at a nationwide scale.
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