A wedding photographer in Turkey just made a statement against child marriage in the most epic way possible.
Onur Albayrak was hired to capture a couple's wedding moments, but after learning that the bride was just 15 years old, the photographer beat up the groom.
Albayrak had noticed the bride's young nature, which prompted him to ask the groom about her age. When the latter responded by saying she's 15-years-old, Albayrak attacked him.
"Yes, the reports are correct. A child bride means child abuse, and no force in the world can make me photograph a child as a bride," Albayrak wrote in a Facebook post.
The groom's nose was broken in the fight.
The wedding was held in the eastern Turkish province of Malatya.
"I wish this had never happened, but it did. And if you were to ask me if I'd do the same thing again, I'd say yes," Albayrak wrote.
Child marriage is a pressing issue in Turkey. An estimated 15 percent of girls get married before the age of 18.
Many rights organizations have warned against the alarming rise in child brides in Turkey, which has "one of the highest rates of child marriage in Europe," according to Girls Not Brides, a global partnership of more than 1,000 civil society organizations working to end child marriage.
Turkey legally requires individuals – male and female – to be 18 years of age to marry, and the same goes for 17-year-olds with a legal guardian or parent's permission.
In extraordinary circumstances, 16-year-olds are also allowed to marry with court approval, according to BBC.
The practice of underage weddings often takes place in religious courts across the country
Earlier this year, Turkey's highest religious body suggested that "girls as young as nine and boys as young as 12 can marry under Islamic law".
Following an intense backlash, the Diyanet removed the post, clarifying its statement by ensuring the public it never intended to encourage child marriage. The government body said it "never and will never approve early marriages".
However, in 2016, the Turkish Prime Minister said there were some 3,800 known cases of child marriage in the country.
"Early marriages violate children's rights, women's rights, human rights. As MPs we ask parliament to investigate child marriages," opposition Republican People's Party MP Murat Bakan said.
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Violence against women in Turkey
According to the Huffington Post, 86 percent of women in Turkey have experienced physical or psychological violence from a partner or family member. In 2015, over 300 women died of domestic violence.
Though there are anti-violence laws in place, court rulings can sometimes be lenient if a "judge deems their demeanor to be positive and/or respectful".
"Judges follow their social agenda and give discounts according to their own opinions," Ipek Bozkurt, an attorney in Istanbul who specializes in domestic violence cases, told The New York Times.
"Even the existing laws in Turkey are not enforced in practice because judges don’t care about women."
According to the World Health Organization, 37 percent of married women in the East Mediterranean region - including several Arab countries - have been physically or sexually abused by their partners.