Against the Ministry of National Education Directive on Secondary Education Discipline and Awards which authorizes school principals to demand the schoolgirls to undergo virginity testing, “no to virginity testing” protests began across Turkey. During the same period, a female student from İstinye Imam Hatip High School, who was seen talking to her boyfriend in the park, committed suicide, fearing that she would be taken to virginity testing. 8th of March Women’s Group organized a protest on February 9, in Cağaloğlu, in front of the Directorate of National Education to protest the regulation that aims to control female students and legitimizes virginity testing. As a result of the pressure by women’s movement, in the following days, the word “unchastity” was removed from the Discipline Regulations and the Minister Nevzat Ayaz issued a circular stating that virginity tests would not continue; however, virginity tests did not come to an end. Virginity testing was eventually abandoned after the Ministry of Justice issued a circular on 5 January 1999 which banned virginity testing.
The article 287 of the Turkish Penal Code, which entered into force on 1 April 2005 stipulates that persons who submit women to virginity testing (genital examination) or who perform this examination shall be sentenced to imprisonment from three months to one year.
Translator: İpek Tabur
Proof-reader: Müge Karahan