More than 500,000 girls under the age of 17 were married in the past 11 years in Turkey, according to Family and Social Policies Ministry data, which does not include unofficial marriages, Hurriyet Daily News reported.
In the past 11 years, 504,957 girls between the ages of 16 and 17 got married in Turkey according to the official marriage data.
Girls between 16 and 18 can get married with their parents' permission according to Turkish law. However, it is known that many underage girls are getting married with only a religious ceremony either if their age is younger than 16 or if official marriage is not common in the areas where they are living. The ministry said it would work against child marriages via schools, mosques, health centers and even by visiting people in their houses in places where the phenomenon is most common.
According to the ministry's data, the number of girls between the ages of 16 and 17 who married officially was 37,263 in 2002, 45,981 in 2003, 49,280 in 2004, 44,919 in 2005, 50,366 in 2006, 50,720 in 2007, 49,203 in 2008, 47,859 in 2009, 45,738 in 2010, 42,700 in 2011 and 40,428 in 2012.
The ministry also said it had given safety buttons to women who were victims of violence in two pilot cities. In Adana, 73 women received safety buttons with a court decision, along with 53 women in Bursa. The ministry also said in the first two months of 2014, more than 3,000 women and children had stayed at shelters in different cities of Turkey.
This number was 12,648 in 2013, according to the ministry's data.