Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim says his government is withdrawing a proposal that critics say would legitimize child marriages and will instead submit it for review by a parliamentary committee. The proposal, which was scheduled to undergo a final vote on Tuesday despite a public outcry, would have deferred sentencing or punishment for sexual assault in cases where there was no physical force and where the victim and perpetrator were married.
The age of consent in Turkey is 18, although courts permit civil marriages for people as young as 16. Many younger people are married in Islamic ceremonies.
Binali Yildirim told reporters the government would ask an all-party commission to review the proposal. Critics said the bill would have pardoned statutory rape and reversed efforts to combat sexual abuse and child marriages.