Child bride in Turkey dies after giving birth

Girl married in religious ceremony when she was 14

Harriet Agerholm
Sunday 16 October 2016 17:42
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Demonstrators hold a banner reading ''Enough, we don't want child brides'' in Ankara
Demonstrators hold a banner reading ''Enough, we don't want child brides'' in Ankara

A child bride in Turkey has died of a brain hemorrhage after giving birth at the age of 15, local media have reported.

The bleed thought to have killed her is believed to have been associated with going into labour at such a young age.

Known only as Derya B, the girl was married in a religious ceremony at the age of 14.

After delivering her baby in a village in the Mukti district of Turkey, the girl was taken to the Batman hospital in eastern Turkey with complaints of nausea, vomiting and a headache. She was admitted to intensive care, but died two days later.

Prosecutors have launched an inquiry into the death and her body has been taken to the Batman Regional hospital for a post-mortem examination to determine the exact cause of death.

Gynaecology expert Professor Aydan Biri told the Hurriyet Daily News Derya B's death was likely to have been caused by her going through childbirth so young.

“It is dangerous for a child bride to get pregnant,” she said.

“The pregnancies of children who have not completed their physical development and whose organs have not yet completely developed often end in death.”

One third of girls in developing countries, apart from in China, are married before the age of 18. One in nine are wed before their 15th birthday, according to UN data.

Turkey has a minimum marriage age of 17 years old, yet marriage at 16 can happen with court approval.

According to campaign group Campaign group Girls Not Brides, the country has one of the highest rates of child marriage in Europe, with an estimated 15 percent of girls married before they turn 18.

Yet the charity says the true figure may be far higher – since most child marriages take place unofficially.

In 2013, the United Nations Population Fund found that around 28 per cent of marriage in Turkey involved girls aged under 18.

This recently has been exacerbated by a huge influx of refugees – often women and children – from Syria and Iraq.

President Recep Erdogan has called the situation of women the “bleeding wound” of his country, he has also said men and women cannot be placed on an “equal footing”.

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