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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 September, 2004, 15:09 GMT 16:09 UK
Should Turkey outlaw adultery?
Turkish women protesting the proposed laws in Ankara

The opposition in Turkey says the government has reversed plans to criminalise adultery.

The news came as both parties debated wide-ranging changes to Turkey's laws intended to bring them closer to those of European Union member states.

Many of the reforms - which include outlawing torture - have been welcomed by the EU and human rights activists.

But a clause that would outlaw adultery led to criticism from EU leaders, who warned the move could damage the country's bid to join the bloc.

Adultery used to be illegal in Turkey until 1996, when the Constitutional Court struck the law down because it penalised women more than men.

Do you think Turkey should make adultery a crime? Would the proposed clause be a blow against women's rights in the country? Does the debate undermine Turkey's hopes to become a modern European nation? Send us your comments and experiences.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

Any independent country is free to impose any law that it thinks good for its nation and I think adultery should be a crime in a state to save family lives. The EU has nothing to do with the good laws of a free state whether its Islamic or non-Islamic.
Obaid Bin Waleed, USA

I believe adultery is immoral and should not be considered acceptable. This problem will not go away with any law. The problem is with society in general not just in Turkey. They (society) treat such an act as acceptable. What needs to change is people's viewpoint of adultery and that is not going to happen by implementing a law, especially a law that has been proven in the past to treat men and the women differently. Adultery is wrong both for a man or a woman until people's viewpoint changes no law will be able to stop it.
Aimee, Texas, USA

Yes, so long as it is applied equally to both men and women. Then we in Europe can implement it too.
Martin Peake, The Hague

Adultery is a serious offence against a marriage partner. It is utterly selfish and destructive. It should be criminalised. DB
David Bamber, Lancing, UK

Adultery is bad, but this law is too intrusive and cannot be enforced fairly. Prime Minister Erdogan should stick to the priority of getting Turkey into the EU and stop making laws which would give Turkey's opponents an excuse not to let it into the EU.
Usman Ahmedani, London, UK

Regardless of what one might think of the law, to say based on this that Turkey is becoming an 'Islamic State' or is one step from 'Sharia Law' is laughable and shows true bias and ignorance on the part of people outside of Turkey. The speed with which the EU jumped on this issue claiming that it would hurt Turkey's chances of starting negotiations in December to join the EU was alarming. It was quite clear that after trying so hard for so long to put roadblocks in Turkey's path to EU membership, and after Turkey has shocked everybody with their social, legal and economic reform program over the last five years, the EU was desperately trying to find something to object to concerning Turkey's EU membership. I am afraid the EU wears their prejudices and biases on their sleeves. Their self-righteous arrogance (the EU a moral beacon?) is really too much to stomach sometimes.
Alan, New York, USA

Does this mean that Turkey is a little bit out of touch with modern EU culture? Maybe. On the other hand they did walked away from me as soon as they realized what they did and that is good.
Antonis, Cyprus

I believe Turkey is heading towards the right direction in making adultery a crime. It is without a doubt that adultery, both on the side of man and woman, is detrimental to the marriage institution.
Jermaine Zukes, Iowa City Iowa

The state should not be responsible to guarantee one's faithfulness to his/her spouse. The debate doesn't undermine Turkey's hopes to be a modern (not necessarily European) nation. The nation debated this law and decided that it is not practical. That's what happens in a modern democratic nation. In the meantime, maybe the EU should look at the abortion and divorce laws in Portugal and Ireland.
Mustafa Yorumcu, UK/Turkey

I strongly believe that Turkey is a free nation and is free to impose any law on its citizens as a state as far as they are not gender biased. Islam strictly condemns adultery and suggests severe punishments for whoever commits it. As a country of with a Muslim majority Turkey should outlaw adultery. As some people said, the state has nothing to do with what goes on in the bedrooms of its citizens; the EU therefore has nothing to do with any law that a state introduces in a free independent country, and thinks suits best its environment, religion and citizens.
Abu Bakr, Islamabad, Pakistan.

I find this law totally absurd. And anyone who has religious beliefs, either Christian or Muslim, should know that men or women should freely decide whether to abide with God's laws or not. But, most importantly, this law will be very useful to angry men who want to impose strict social control on their wives. At that point, whether the adultery has actually taken place or not at all becomes thoroughly irrelevant. Innocence is hard to prove and witnesses that accuse an innocent victim can always be found, maybe among the husband's friends
Massimo, Palermo, Italy

Every country should outlaw adultery. I find it very strange that so many people here seem to think that accepting adultery is a sign of civilisation. I think it is a sign of the opposite.
Harriet, Singapore

Unlike most countries in the EU, Turkey is a secular country where religion and state are separate. Turkish state does not have a religion and should not have morals that have religious motives. Therefore, the state should not interfere in people's bedrooms. Although it is nice to have differing views in democracies, luckily this proposition is now dropped, and will not be a law.
Zorlu, Manchester, UK

I don't see why they shouldn't. As long as it's applied equally. I think you shouldn't be allowed any assets obtained during the marriage. It is too easy to break off something supposedly sacred.
Dain, Washington DC, USA

I think it is the first sensible thing the Turkish Government is doing to show that they are Muslims
Umar Khan, Memphis

I think it is the first sensible thing the Turkish Government is doing to show that they are Muslims. Adultery has destroyed the whole western society and should be tackled on priority basis to save our future generations. One of the curses due to this behaviour is Aids and HIV, which results in the death of hundreds and thousands of human beings every year. It is high time that the nations should behave like human beings and not like pigs. Everybody should look into their religious books and see if this action is against their religion.
Umar Khan, Memphis, TN, USA

The real issue here is membership of the EU. Turkey is not a European country, it is not a Christian country, and as such there should not even be any consideration of its membership into the EU. Where will EU enlargement stop? Will Israel be applying to join next?
Michael Pearson, Nantucket, USA

Marital infidelity is something that should not concern anyone except the married couple! The state and church should tend to stately and religious business respectively, and stay away from the bedrooms of its citizens. Turkey is about to take one big steps backwards, while all the time wanting to be accepted into the modern world. Careful!
Zelko, Canada

Let Turkey outlaw whatever it likes just so long as they realise it jeopardises any chance of joining the EU.
Anonymous, St Albans, UK

The idea is good, if the law can be applied to both sexes fairly. However, I do not think Turkey is ready for such a law. I wish to have this law here in the US though. Adultery is to common here.
George, USA

This will only suffice if it treats women and men as equals, not when it places men above its realms. My fear is it will only oppress women like its predecessor!
Sirang, Gabarone, Botswana

This is a first step in making Turkey an Islamic state. If they pass this the next steps will be head cover for woman, degradation of woman rights and at the end total Islamic rule. The West can say goodbye to Turkey as their liberal Islamic showcase.
Tim Floyd, London

I think this is another example of Mr Erdogan's 'bring it out and see the public's reaction' tactics. But it won't work as it didn't with enforcing religious schools. This alleged proposition is unacceptable for a country which claims to be a real part of the Europe.
Manisa, France/Turkey

The punishment for adultery should be the same for men and women. Historically, it's the woman who is seen to be taking the brunt of the punishment. Having said this, we live in a civilised world and therefore, adultery should not be a crime. There are far worse things than this that need to be addressed. If a person is not felt loved in a relationship or there is a breakdown, then it's a free choice to look elsewhere.
Hans, Zurich, Switzerland

While adultery is never a good thing and ought to be rebuked whenever and it pops up, such rebuking should only take place at the personal level between friends or family. What goes on in a person's bedroom is not under the rule of the government. There are larger issues of basic personal freedom at stake here as this measure smells of totalitarianism. These sorts of laws may have been fine during medieval times, they have no place in the modern world.
Jason Totten, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Turkey is free to implement this law. The EU is also free reject repressive countries from joining the Union.
James, London

The law is great in principle, but only if applied justly to both men and women.
Kashifn, UK

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