Women in Istanbul protest against amnesty for child abuse

Women's organisations are protesting against the Turkish government's draft law that would allow rapists who marry their underage victims to go unpunished.

The Women's Council of the Peoples’ Democratic Congress (HDK) protests against the new enforcement law and the Turkish government's plan to make rape of minors exempt from punishment under certain conditions. At a press conference at HDK headquarters in Istanbul, the bill was described as an "amnesty for child abuse".

The press conference was attended by HDK spokeswoman Idil Uğurlu, activists of the Free Women's Movement (TJA) and members of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). Due to the Corona pandemic, the necessary distance was maintained.

Idil Uğurlu stated that the government was using every opportunity to assert its interests; “The country's population have to fight against the pandemic and government policy at the same time. The new enforcement law in Turkey excludes political prisoners and grants a reduction of sentences for perpetrators of violence against women. Women's right to life is disregarded by the state even in times of pandemic.”

Regarding the Turkish government's draft law to amnesty sexual abuse of minors through marriage, Idil Uğurlu said that the AKP was currently trying to establish public approval through its affiliated institutions and media organs.

She continued: "The draft law formulates it openly: The rapists of minors are married to their victims and are released from prison as husbands of the abuse victims. Cleansing the abuse under the condition of marriage means nothing more than exposing the minors to the abuse again and sentencing them to a life of violence. The rapists are rehabilitated, child abuse is legitimized and child marriage is normalized. We will not allow such a bill."