Turkey's underage marriage bill issue 'now closed'
Justice Minister Bozdag says the issue may come to the agenda again only 'if parties have broad consensus in the future'
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag has said the issue of the underage marriage bill is “now closed”.
Speaking at the parliament in Ankara on Wednesday, Bozdag said: "If political parties achieve a broad consensus about this issue in the future, then it can come to our agenda again, but the issue is now closed.”
The contentious bill, which proposed changes to the underage marriage law, was initially advanced in the parliament despite objections by the two main opposition parties, the Republican People's Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). The bill was withdrawn earlier Tuesday.
The draft law to amend parts of Turkey’s Penal Code was submitted to the parliament on Thursday by Mehmet Mus, vice chairman of the governing Justice and Development (AK) Party’s parliamentary group.
It was opposed by the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
The legal age for marriage in Turkey is 17 but under the Civil Code Article 124 a judge can allow a 16-year-old to marry.
In cases of sexual abuse where the victim is under 12, the minimum prison sentence is 10 years and for victims aged 12 to 18, the sentence is eight to 15 years.
The minimum jail term for raping someone under 12 is 18 years and for raping someone aged 12 to 18 is 16 years.
FETO probe numbers
Bozdag also said currently 1,121 people were being held as part of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) probe.
"There are a total of 4,365 people who are currently being sought, whether an arrest warrant is issued for them or not," he said, adding: "96 people among those 4,365 are soldiers, 210 of them are police officers, a governor and three deputy governors are being sought for as well."
In wake of the July 15 coup attempt, tens of thousands FETO suspects have been arrested, including many in the armed forces, police, justice system and the education sector.
The July 15 coup attempt saw 248 people martyred and 2,193 others injured.
Reporting by Alp Ozden; Writing by Satuk Bugra Kutlugun
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