12-13-14 … These are the numbers that kept being repeated in the news with a young child’s photograph in the background. Her name is Kader. Kader means fate in Turkish. She was forced into a berdel (exchanging of brides between two families) marriage at the age of 12 or younger. She had given birth to a baby boy. She was 13½ years old when she died of bullet wounds on Jan. 12. Her father was on the news saying, “This is fate.”
Only a few days before her death, Al-Monitor’s Turkey Pulse published a stellar piece by Riada Asimovic Akyol on the issue of child brides. Akyol makes a crucial point that we need to raise awareness about the problem and says, “If the state, media and religious leaders continuously stand against child marriage publicly, the phenomenon will cease to be so hushed up.” I am not quite sure if the problem is “hushed up” much at all in Turkey. Yet, I agree with Akyol that it is a problem.