türkçe links to original Turkish article
(Hürriyet Newspaper, 5 February 2017)
Not all traditions are good.
The tradition in two mountain villages, Sırımlı and Olgunlar, in
Kiraz district of İzmir province, of boys kidnapping girls and
marrying them has been going on for ages. According to information
provided by Kiraz Mayor Saliha Özçınar (33), about 20 girls between
the ages of 12 and 21 are kidnapped each year in the two villages.
Most of the kidnapped girls are 14 years-old (!).
Mayor Özçinar noted that "we see that kidnapping incidents are
frequent between Sırımlı and Olgunlar, whereas such incidents are
rare in other villages." Because of this traditional method of betrothal,
marriages in the two villages are few. 'Hush money' is paid to the families
of the kidnapped girls, depending on the age of the girl. The 'rates' are
as follows: 12 years-old - 40,000 TL (about 10,000 USD); 13 years-old -
30,000 TL; 14 years-old - 25,000 TL; 15 years-old - 20,000 TL.
The families accept the money with the mindset that "what's done is
done. The girl has become 'murdar' (spoiled, unclean)". By the time
the girls reach 17 when the marriage can be made official, they have
born 2 or 3 children. The kidnappings are done on Fridays so that no
action can be taken by authorities during the weekend break. All traces
of the kidnapping are erased in those two days.
Şerife Avşar and Hürriyet reporter Gülden Aydın
This ancient custom of the two villages has come to light because two
families rebelled against it, forcing Ankara and Izmir to take action.
We heard about the nightmares experienced by Şerife Avşar (15) of
Sırımlı, who was freed in an operation after 85 days of captivity, and
Ebru Sakal (14) of Olgunlar.
We arrive at Şerife's home by climbing up the winding road to Sırımlı
village, where Şerife's mother Necibe, father Mehmet, grandmother
Fatma and grandfather Murat Avşar are waiting for us. Şerife is small
and freckle-faced. She doesn't stray from her mother's side. A Kiraz
police team found her two days after her 15th birthday, in her 85th
day of captivity.
Şerife related her travail as follows: "Last year I finished 8th grade at
Kiraz Halilier Middle School. On 7 November I went outside to use
the toilet and ran into my step-brother who brought me to his house,
where Necati Gedik (18) of Olgunlar village was waiting along with
another boy. They grabbed me by my arms and made me walk for
an hour and a half. I stayed in Olgunlar village for 2.5 months and
the door was locked the whole time. I escaped twice but they caught
"When the Gendarmerie raiding the village they hid me in a
stable and then took me another house. The whole village knew that
they had kidnapped me because they saw me when I tried to escape.
But when the Gendarmerie came they said nothing. They're with the
kidnappers, not the state because that's how they all married. Necati's
father Hüseyin Gedik tried to scare me, saying 'who would take you
after this.' I'm accusing all of them. I hope they rot in jail."
As for Ebru Sakal's story, the 14 year-old from Olgunlar village was
missing for 50 days. Mother Ayşe Sakal explained that "Ebru was a
first year student at Kiraz Sağlık Meslek High School. She's the only
one of my 6 children in school and she stayed at a state dormatory,
coming home on weekends."
"On Friday, 16 December, she didn't come home. The village chief,
Muammer Yaygın, called my husband Abdullah who asked 'is anyone
missing?' Yaygın replied that Hüseyin Aksakal, a relative of my
husband just back from military service, had kidnapped our daughter.
Abdullah told Yaygın 'don't let them spoil the child, make them bring
her back.' When Yaygın didn't reply, Abdullah contacted the Kiraz
police but Ebru has yet to be found after 50 days. But even if she's
been raped she's our daughter and we'll continue to educate her."
Sırımlı and Olgunlar villages are located just to the southeast of
Kiraz district is in the extreme east of Izmir province.