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The last 25 years of child marriages in Turkey

One in every five children in the world is married. Every year, 12 million girls become deprived of many fundamental rights, especially education, health and employment due to child marriage (UNFPA, SWOP 2020). Unfortunately, Turkey is one of the countries where this harmful practice is common. Today, in Turkey, 1 out of every 5 women aged between 18-45 got married at a child age, and 1 in every 3 women who got married at a child age also became a mother at a child age. Half of the women who were married before 18, experienced physical violence.

ANKARA – Child, early and forced marriages are one of the most harmful practices against girls around the world. Child marriages constitute an obstacle, especially for girls, to have a healthy, quality and bright future free from violence.

UNFPA Turkey and Hacettepe University Institute of Population Studies conducted the  study of “Child, Early and Forced Marriage in Turkey: Data Analysis of Turkey Demographic and Health Surveys 1993-2018” to provide a scientific ground for the related projects and to guide the programs and advocacy steps to end child marriages.

In the study, where a comprehensive data analysis has been made based on the “Turkey Demographic and Health Studies” carried out between 1993-2018, findings of a 25-years-period analysis on child marriages were presented with attention to a wide range of indicators such as age of marriage, pregnancy, birth, maternal and newborn health and partner attitudes within marriage.

The study has been launched with the ““Child Marriages in Turkey” panel which brought together important names from the United Nations,  academia, civil society, media and the art world. 

The event which started with the opening speeches of the UNFPA Turkey Representative Hassan Mohtashami, UNICEF Turkey Representative Regina De Dominicis and SİDA Representative Malin Stawe continued with the “Child, Early and Forced Marriage in Turkey: Data Analysis of Turkey Demographic and Health Surveys 1993-2018” presentation of Assoc. Prof. İlknur Yüksel-Kaptanoğlu and the speeches of UNFPA Turkey Child, Early and Forced Marriages Project Manager Emine Kuzutürk Savaş and Sexual and Reproductive Health Programme Analyst Gökhan Yıldırımkaya on the importance of ending child marriages for the United Nations’ efforts. 

In the last session of the event, Association of Public Health Specialist Chairperson and Scientific Committee Member Prof. Pınar Okyay, journalist Başak Çubukçu and artist Didem Balçın shared their thoughts on the ways to end child marriage. 

You can watch the event which was broadcasted live on Youtube here and see the full report here