"We Heard It from Esra Erol and Came”
A group of people who wants to draw attention to child brides came together at Taksim. TV Show host Esra Erol also took part in the act. Men and women were also in the act with their sons and daughters.
A group of people came together at Taksim on April 23 National Sovereignty and Children's Day in order to draw attention to child brides; they said "A Child cannot be a Bride".
TV Marriage Show host Esra Erol, actress Meltem Miraoğlu who plays a child bride role at a TV serial and actor Ahmet Mümtaz Taylan were also took part in the act. Turkish singer and director Mahsun Kırmızıgül also supported the act.
The dubbing artist Perizad Demirez read the press release of the act and she drew attention to the fact that the number of child brides in Turkey is 10.000. Those children are in between 12-14 years of age and 3 out of the 4 children already gave birth.
" These are not numbers, these are our 'children'. Children who want to play, children who want to laugh, children who want to eat candies."
The people took in part in the act brought candies and those candies will be sent to the governors of the provinces with the most child brides.
Demirez called out to the governors:
" Our law says a child cannot be a bride and this is accepted as a big crime. If you are there to apply the laws then you are also responsible for this drama"
"We still have this a lot at our village"
I am coming closer to people who came there out of breath, trying to take photos and asking "Where's Esra Erol?". All of them heard the act from the TV show of Esra Erol and came there.
A woman who was at an act for the first time in her life came there both to support the act and to see Esra Erol. "There are no child brides at our village in Nevşehir. I do not force my daughters for getting married, in fact it's better if they do not get married." Says the woman who got married when she was 19.
Another woman from Kayseri says that child brides are very common at their village and she adds nervously that her cousin was married to a 15-year-old child.
I ask her "What's the opinion of the children?". She says "What can they do?" and she adds:
"The children got used to it, when they're 16, they begin to worry if they are not married. They think they're late to get married. "
"He was 22 years older than me"
I come close to a mother and daughter who watch the act more seriously; they are not taking photos.
The woman says she was forced to marry when she was 16. Even though it's been years and she got divorced from her husband, she still talks to me with a trembling voice:
"It's indefinable, only people who lived the same thing can understand. He was 22 years older than me. We are Cherkess; our tradition is rigid. I couldn't say anything. Any kind of violence, oppression... I have 3 daughters. I said "It's enough!" after 19 years and I got divorced. It was too hard for me but I succeeded. I brought up my daughters. I never marry them at a young age."
"I am a father of two girls; that's why I am here"
He says "I am here because I have two daughters. Isn't it enough? There are no child brides at our family however we hear these cases. The state does nothing for this issue. Moreover, they receive it with open arms; the new education system (4+4+4) is a part of it."
Even though a couple passing from the street say "We are from the Aegean region, we do not have such cases there", the data shows that there are child brides all over Turkey. Women organizations underline that it's hard to determine the exact number however the 30% of the marriages in Turkey are early marriages.(NV)
İstanbul - BİA Haber Merkezi
24 April 2012, Tuesday