On 4 December 2012 Canan Arin, co-founder of Purple Roof, Mor Cati Women’s Shelter Foundation, and a member of the Turkish national platform Say ‘No’ to Child Brides, made a speech about violence against women and girls in which she cited early and forced marriage as a tradition in Turkey. For this speech, she was charged with publicly degrading the religious values of a section of the public and insulting the President of the Republic.
On 24 May 2013, more than 80 member organisations of Girls Not Brides from 30 different countries wrote a joint letter to the President of the Turkish Republic to express concern at the charges brought against Canan Arın.
“We believe that it is necessary to raise awareness of the harmful impact of child marriage by encouraging open, inclusive and informed discussion. The freedom to speak openly about child marriage is integral to this work,” wrote the Girls Not Brides members.
“We call on the Turkish government to work with civil society organisations in Turkey to address the issue of child marriage and to ensure the safety and freedom of expression of individuals speaking out on the issue,” they concluded.
On 30 May it was reported that the trial of Canan Arın had been suspended. The trial’s suspension is positive news but does not represent a full acquittal.
In the time it has taken to read this article 14 girls under the age of 18 have been married
Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18
That is 23 girls every minute
Nearly 1 every 3 seconds