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European Journal

Turkey: Child Marriages

Forced marriage involving minors is on the rise in the southeast of Turkey. Since the outbreak of civil war in neighboring Syria, desperate families fleeing the conflict have been selling their daughters to Turkish men.

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The reported suicide of a 15-year-old girl and a high-ratings TV series on the issue have opened up a controversial debate. In some regions, one in two girls have become child brides. Since the minimum age for getting married in Turkey is 18, such marriages (even where performed by an imam), are illegal and punishable with a jail sentence. Outraged human rights activists point out that many of the girls end up at the mercy of pedophiles and rapists.