After social outrage, PM seeks consultation with opposition on controversial rape bill

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Women shout slogans and hold signs reading "We will not forgive child rapists" during a demostration against a proposed bill in Istanbul on November 18, 2016. A bill in Turkey that would overturn men's convictions for child sex assault if they marry their victim provoked fury on November 18 with critics accusing the proposals of encouraging rape. / AFP PHOTO / YASIN AKGUL

Following outrage that was sparked on social media and in civil society, Prime Minister and the Chairman of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Binali Yıldırım called for consultation with the opposition on a bill brought to Parliament which proposes that rapists in Turkish jails be released if they had previously married their victims, a way out of prison for more than 4,000 inmates convicted of rape.

The bill was brought to the floor of the General Assembly and was approved by AKP deputies despite the nay votes of both the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

According to CHP İstanbul deputy Barış Yarkadaş, the AKP’s proposal will release at least 4,000 rapists once it becomes law.

Former CHP İzmir deputy Musa Çam also criticized the proposal, saying it will open the way for rapists to negotiate with the families of victims in order to be released.

“Rapists will avoid punishment as they can offer money to the families. This [proposal] will open the way for more rapes,” Çam said in series of Tweets on Thursday.

A majority of votes was lacking during the general assembly vote on the bill on Thursday, thus making it impossible to approve the bill. At least 184 votes are needed in Parliament to pass legislation.

A second round of voting will take place on Friday.

 

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