Turkish Women Can Keep their Last name Even after Marriage

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The Turkish Constitutional Court turned around the Article 187, which mandated that women must take their husband’s surname upon marriage. Thus After this decision Turkish women has got the rights to keep surnames/last names of their parent even after marriage. This decision was taken to reduce the disparity of equality between men and women.

In the past, Article 187 in the Turkish civil code said that when a woman got married, she had to use her husband’s last name. There was a small loophole, though – she could use her own last name first by making a written request to the marriage officer or later to the civil registry office. But here’s the catch: the old law didn’t let women stick to using just their own last names after they tied the knot. That part of the rule was a bit outdated.

As of January 28, the Turkish Constitutional Court’s decision, made in April 2023, is now in effect. The court initially gave the parliament nine months to create a new rule after overturning Article 187. Unfortunately, they haven’t done it yet, creating a legal gap for women getting married after this date until the new article is ready.

Thus now women can keep their parent last name/ surname and no one can force them to adapt husband last name even after marriage.

Importance of this Decision

According to the Article 20 of the Constitution of Republic of Turkey, which guarantees the right to demand respect for private life, the motion emphasized that the right to a name is crucial for an individual’s identity and is an essential part of their personal rights and private life. Thus this decision is important to bridge the gap.

The request to scrap Article 187 began back in 2001 when Istanbul’s 8th Family Court initiated the process. They referred to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and argued that it was unfair for a married man to keep his birth surname throughout his life while a married woman couldn’t enjoy the same right, violating the principle of equality.

Turkish Women Rights In The Country

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In 2020, Turkey made headlines by withdrawing from the Istanbul Convention, a landmark treaty dedicated to preventing violence against women and girls. While initially the first country to ratify it, Turkey became the first, and so far the only, country to step back from this commitment. The government claimed the Convention threatened “family values” and criticized it for “normalizing homosexuality.”

This move raised concerns, with Amnesty International warning of disastrous consequences for millions of women and support organizations. Turkey faces significant gender inequalities, with one of the highest rates of femicides globally. Issues like domestic violence, honor killings, and sexual assault persist, and women remain underrepresented in political and decision-making roles.

Although the recent removal of Article 187 is a positive step, challenges persist. Turkey has laws against domestic violence and gender discrimination, yet their effective implementation and enforcement face hurdles due to patriarchal attitudes and gaps in access to justice. It’s a small stride in the right direction, but there’s more work to be done for lasting change.

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