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Turkey: Women’s Rights Abuses Widespread and Systematic by Uzay Bulut (Gatestone Inst.)

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Mar. 15, 2019

  • “As the largest jailer of journalists in the world, it’s no surprise that Turkey has the most female journalists behind bars… most detained on anti-state charges.” — Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
  • The new bill, expected to be voted on ahead of the March 31 local elections, aims to lower the age at which sexual relations with a child (under the cover of marriage) is considered a crime from 15-years-old to 12-years-old. If it passes, it will “pardon” the underage-marriage offenses of approximately 10,000 men currently serving prison sentences on sexual-abuse charges.
  • “Such an amnesty would whitewash… and encourage… illegal ‘marriages’ with children… It would also discourage the victims from appealing to the legal mechanisms and reintroduce the concept of ‘marriage with rape offenders’ into law.” — The “TCK (Turkish Penal Code) 103 Women’s Platform,” an umbrella organization for 157 women’s and LGBT groups.

International Women’s Day kicked off in Istanbul with the murder of a woman by her boyfriend. A few hours later, thousands of mostly female demonstrators participating in the “17th Feminist Night March,” were attacked with pepper spray by riot police attempting to disperse the annual March 8 event, launched in 2003. This year, however, Turkish police had declared the march “unauthorized,” and closed off all streets leading to the avenue on which it was to take place. Scuffles ensued between the police and women who circumvented the barricades.

This incident gives an indication of the way in which the human rights of women are violated regularly in Turkey, not only by the government, but often at the hands of their own family members.

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