Gov't body accused of endorsing marriage for girls from age 9

Some thousands of Turkish women march to protest against a law project by the government, in Istanbul, Nov. 25, 2016. Following a public outcry, Turkey's government withdrew a proposal that critics said would have allowed men accused of sexually abusing underage girls to go free if they were married to their victims.


ANKARA, Turkey -- An online glossary posted by Turkey's state religious affairs body suggesting that girls as young as 9 could marry has sparked a public outcry, including calls for an inquiry and the dismantling of the organization.

The glossary of Islamic terms, which has since been removed, defined marriage as an institution that saves a person from adultery and said girls can marry when they reach puberty - as early as age 9.

The main opposition party has asked prosecutors to investigate.

The Directorate of Religious Affairs, or Diyanet, has denied approving underage marriages and said the glossary merely interpreted Islamic laws, Hurriyet newspaper reported Thursday.

Diyanet previously caused an uproar by suggesting a father could lust after his daughter.