young girl

Almost two lakh child brides exist in Turkey, said İzmir Bar Association Central Executive Board Member and women's rights advocate Nuriye Kadan.

The female partner in one-third of the marriages in the country is underage, according to a Turkey Population and Health Research survey's results, she said while speaking at a conference held to tackle the problem of child marriage of women.

"There are 181,036 child brides in our country, unfortunately," she said on 6 December.

"Nearly 20,000 parents filed applications to marry off their under-16 girls in 2012.

"Some 97.4% of the students who do not further their education for marital reasons are female," she added.

Pregnancy was a major reason for death among girls aged 15-19, she said.

Kadan, at the conference, said that the partriarchal mindset was getting internalised which legitimised the "violation of children's rights."

"We must all share the burden of responsibility to fight child marriages. We must wage a comprehensive campaign to create awareness on this," said former State Minister Işılay Saygın.

Saygin also that education is how child marriages could be stopped.

Hurriyetdailynews quoted Yaşar University Law Professor Mustafa Ruhan Erdem as saying, "Child marriages occasioned by force and threats should be punished."

"Marriage should be based on free will according to international law. The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence Turkey signed in 2011, mandates the enactment of laws which regard intentional acts forcing any adult or child into marriage as a 'crime.' Forced marriage should not be left unpunished," he added.

In Turkey, girls under 16 are allowed to marry with permission from the Sharia Court and at 18, with parental consent.

GirlsnotBrides says that the influx of refugees from Syria and neighbouring countries has increased the number of child marriages in the country. In similar conditions in South Asia, Rohingya Muslim women have been forced into marriages to get visa for countries like Malaysia.

The International Center for Research on Women states that one third women in the world are married off before the age of 18 while 1 in 9 would be married before turning 15. Niger fares the worst, with 75% girls being married before 18, with Chad and Central African Republic following close behind. While in India, 47% girls are married before 18.