Turkey should bring back 'adultery law': Erdogan

Turkey should bring back 'adultery law': Erdogan
Turkey should reconsider criminalising adultery, said Erdogan, after previous attempts to introduce it were met with Turkish and global outrage.
2 min read
21 February, 2018
Turkey differs from most "western countries" said Erdogan [Getty]
The government was wrong to shelve an attempt to outlaw adultery in 2004 in the hopes of appeasing the EU, said the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday, adding it was time to consider making affairs illegal.

In a weekly parliamentary group meeting in Ankara, Erdogan said, "this society holds a different status in terms of its moral values," referring to the issue that caused a major rift between Turkey and the EU during the accession talks.

"This is self-criticism. I must say that in the EU process we made a mistake ... We should now evaluate making regulations about adultery and perhaps consider it together with the issue of harassment and others". 

"This is an issue where Turkey is different from most western countries," Erdogan added.

The topic of the death penalty was also opened again. "Of course, the death penalty is not currently legal. But the issue of the death penalty is especially important for us due to its relationship to terror. Changes in the constitution about this could come up," Erdogan said.

The "adultery law" was proposed in 2004 as part of a sweeping package of changes to the penal code, which included the abolition of torture. The proposed laws were seen as an attempt to bring Turkey's legal code into line with European legislation, however the "adultery law" garnered widespread criticism at home and abroad.

Ankara backtracked from the proposed bill following pressure from the EU.

Turkey's Constitutional Court overturned a previous adultery law in 1996 saying it was unequally applied. Under the earlier laws, men were adulterers if a prolonged affair could be demonstrated, while women were charged if they were unfaithful once.

Turkish ambitions to join the EU date back over half a century but accession talks started in October 2005.

Out of the total of 35 chapters needed to be closed to join the EU, 16 have been opened with just one closed. No new chapter has been opened since financial and budgetary provisions was opened in June 2016.

Earlier in the month, Erdogan rejected proposals of a partnership with the EU, insisting full membership to the bloc was the only option, and that the "EU must keep its promises".