The Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat), which has drawn up a map of marriages involving girls under the age of 18 in Turkey, has revealed that most child brides are from the southeastern province of Kilis, located near the Syrian border.
In the 1,277 marriages that took place in Kilis in 2015, 195 of the brides were under the age of 18.
According to 2015 data, while Kilis has the highest number of child brides by 15.3 percent, it is followed by Kars at 15.2 percent, by Ağrı at 14.1 percent and then by Muş at 14.4 percent. Tunceli province has the lowest number of child brides at 1 percent. Out of 513 marriages that took place in Tunceli in 2015, only five of the brides were under age.
With regards to Turkey’s most-populated city of İstanbul, brides in 2.1 percent of marriages in İstanbul in 2015 were minors.
TurkState has revealed its data on child brides at a time when Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) recently brought a bill to Parliament that proposes rapists in Turkish jails be released if they are married to their victims, as in the case of child marriage, a way out of prison for more than 4,000 inmates convicted of rape.
One-third of girls in developing countries, apart from in China, are married before the age of 18. One in nine are wed before their 15th birthday, according to UN data.
Turkey has a minimum marriage age of 17, yet marriage at 16 can take place with court approval.
According to campaign group Girls Not Brides, the country has one of the highest rates of child marriage in Europe, with an estimated 15 percent of girls married before they turn 18.