Turkey demands legal action against newspaper for child marriage report

Turkish government spokesman Bekir Bozdağ demanded legal action against an opposition newspaper for reporting that the state religious authority said on its website that girls as young as nine could marry, the secularist Cumhuriyet newspaper said on Thursday.

Sözcü newspaper reported that pages of the “religious definitions” section of the Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) website said that girls could marry from the age of 9 and boys from the age of 12.

“The Diyanet only implements one law when giving fatwas,” Bozdağ said. “Allah’s laws.”

But Sözcü, Bozdağ said, was criticising the Diyanet in an “immoral” fashion.

“They are also doing this a little in order to damage the government,” he said. “The Religious Affairs Directorate has announced time and time again that they are against marriage at a young age.”

Any damage to the Diyanet’s reputation would damage citizens’ trust in religion, Bozdağ said.

“The Diyanet talks about Islam, it gives fatwas and comment on topics relating to Islam … Do you want fatwas according to today’s laws or according to Islam?”


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