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Turkey backs away from outlawing adultery


(RNS) Turkey's prime minister announced Sept. 23 that he would drop a provision criminalizing adultery from a proposed penal reform bill, clearing the way for Turkey's bid for European Union membership, Turkish media reported.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told EU Enlargement Commissioner Guenter Verheugen that the proposed Turkish penal code would be reconsidered in an emergency meeting without the adultery clause, Turkish television NTV reported.

The clause, which calls for prison sentences for spouses convicted of adultery, has caused fierce debate in Turkey and Europe.

Erdogan's decision is expected to be well received in Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country, even though adultery is against Islamic principles. Turkey is a secular democracy and has been the EU's seventh biggest export destination and the 13th biggest exporter to the EU since 1999.