It’s not often that a wedding photographer and the groom that hired him end up in fisticuffs. Even less often is it because of the bride-to-be’s age. But that’s exactly what happened when Onur Albayrak, a Turkish photographer, was hired to document a wedding in Turkey’s eastern province of Malatya.
According to Hurriyet Daily News, on July 5th, Mr. Albayrak showed up to his job photographing a wedding at Malatya’s Turgut Ozal Nature Park. He had been hired several weeks earlier by the groom, who had come to Albayrak’s studio alone, leaving his soon-to-be wife at home.
When Albayrak arrived at the site, however, he noticed one glaring oddity: the bride did not like an adult. Even more than that, Albayrak recalled, “she was trembling.”
After learning that she was only 15, Albayrak informed the client he would not go on with the work. The groom then accused Albayrak of violating their contract, eventually striking the photographer.
The two would trade blows, leaving the groom with a broken nose.
On Facebook, where news of his actions brought Albayrak a hero’s welcome, the photographer remained defiant, stating “no force in the world can make me photographer a child as a bride.”
He also doubled down on his decision to forego employment for a just cause, saying “‘I wish this had never happened, but it did. And if you were to ask me if I’d do the same thing again, I’d say ‘yes.’
The legal age of marriage in Turkey is 18, although 17-year-olds can marry with the consent of their parents, and some 16-year-olds are allowed in exceptions granted by the courts.
Nonetheless, Turkey has one of the highest rates of child marriage in Europe, according to UNICEF, with 15% of girls being married before the age of 18.