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Outrage in Turkey after state agency says girls can marry from age 9

Opposition party, women’s rights groups force religious affairs directorate to remove post on Islamic law apparently giving green light to child marriage

Turkey’s religious affairs state agency came under heavy criticism on Thursday from the main opposition party after it said girls as young as nine could marry under Islamic law.

The Diyanet religious affairs directorate said on Tuesday the minimum age for girls to marry was nine, while for boys it was 12, according to Turkish media including the Hurriyet daily quoting the agency’s official website.

The post, which took the form of an explanatory statement on Islamic law, has since been taken down, after a backlash from the opposition and women’s rights groups.

The head of the High Commission of Religious Affairs Ekrem Keles on Thursday told Hurriyet that the earliest age for a girl to marry is 17 and 18 for a boy.

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