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Turkey’s Parliament marked International Women’s Day on Thursday by approving a package of laws aimed at better protecting women and children from abuse. As it vies for European Union membership, Turkey is struggling to discard long-held cultural practices that denigrate women in a largely patriarchal society. It is also fighting to curb “honor killings” and murders of women deemed to have tarnished the reputation of their relatives, sometimes by having a premarital affair or a child out of wedlock.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan began the day by addressing a women’s rights conference in the southeastern city of Mardin. “We will provide legal and financial assistance and shelters to the victims,” he said in his speech.