ISTANBUL — On Nov. 17, members of Parliament from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party, or A.K.P., proposed a bill that seemed bizarre, even in the context of Turkey, where every week seems to bring a new, shocking outrage. The bill called for people who had sexually abused underage girls before Nov. 16 to avoid punishment if the abuser agreed to marry his victim.
At first, the government denied that the bill would absolve rapists and endorse child marriage. Bekir Bozdag, the minister of justice, defended the bill by claiming it addressed only underage couples whose marriages were performed in religious ceremonies not recognized by the state because of age restrictions. The bill included a clause, Mr. Bozdag said, precluding rape, violence or coercion from pardon.