Onur Albayrak, a wedding photographer in the eastern province of Malatya, Turkey, is receiving praise at home and online after refusing to perform as photographer then physically assaulting an adult male client with a 15-year-old girl as his bride.
Onur Albayrak is a hero!— PunkRockSHINE (@TheresaShines) July 12, 2018
Albayrak is a wedding photographer and tried to stop the wedding when he realized that the bride was only 15 y o. He also got into a fight with the grownup groom and broke the creepy man's nose.#onuralbayrak#hero #stopchildmarriage #protectkids
“The groom had come to my studio some two weeks ago and was alone,” Albayrak said to the Hurriyet Daily News.
Albayrak was hired to photograph the wedding, which was taking place in Turgut Özal Nature Park on July 5th, 2018.
“I saw the bride for the first time at the wedding. She’s a child, and I felt her fear because she was trembling. The groom attacked me as I was leaving.”
“A child bride means child abuse, and no force in the world can make me photograph a child as a bride.”
True hero. Turkish photographer, Onur Albayrak, stopped the wedding he was hired to photograph after realizing the bride was only 15-years-old. More than 100 wedding organizers in Turkey have called him to promise they would reject child brides. https://t.co/rfGmMgNsmM— Beverly Davis (@Beverly_Davis) July 16, 2018
“I wish this had never happened, but it did,” Albayrak put on his Facebook.
“And if you were to ask me if I’d do the same thing again, I’d say ‘yes’.”
Applaud Onur Albayrak, photographer from Malatya, who refused to take pics at a wedding after learning the bride was just a child of 15. When the groom tried to force him, Albayrak broke the groom's nose. "Child marriages are child abuse", he says. #MyHero https://t.co/mQV2GFchav— Capulcu Tonella (@diehimbeertonis) July 9, 2018
The legal age of consent for marriage in Turkey is 18 years old for males and females. Rights groups in the country continue to press the issue in the Turkish government however, warning that the problem is far from over.
An estimated 1% of all marriages in Turkey involve a bride younger than 15. And 15% of marriages under Turkish sovereignty occur with a bride under the legal age of 18.
The true numbers are hard to capture though. Statistics rely on registered data and most child marriages are unregistered and take place as unofficial religious marriages.
I like this photographers energy. Big mood. pic.twitter.com/ZR7Od0CaAN— Sir Chill Winnington (@Csaleo) July 9, 2018
Albayrak admitted to beating the man up, but the assault was self defense according to the photographer. He originally merely refused to participate in the wedding after seeing the bride was below the legal age for marriage.
“The groom attacked me as I was leaving [but I was] happy to manifest his reaction.”
not all heroes wear capes— maë — EH MERCÉ LES BLEUS ?? (@warswitch) July 10, 2018
When Albayrak noticed the bride did not look 18, he asked the groom about her age. The photographer responded with anger when the groom told him the bride was only 15.
According to reports of the incident, the two men started fighting and the groom’s nose was broken.
This world keeps surprising me ????— Dots. (@toocoool_Shahid) July 10, 2018
He/She should have beaten the guests as well
Since breaking the groom’s nose, over 100 wedding organizers have contacted Albayrak to swear off any involvement in child marriages.
The government can make the act illegal, but having those who perform the functions boycotting the practice can only help to end it.
Under existing Turkish law, a judge’s order is required to marry anyone 17 years old. It is illegal under any circumstances to marry younger anyone younger than 17.
You did good photography man— Autumn Côté (@ACureforSleep) July 10, 2018
You did good pic.twitter.com/Un71Okg8uR
While even Albayrak himself does not advocate violence as a solution, no one is condemning his actions.
Breaking the nose of this groom is probably up there with punching Nazis.