A new Bill allowing muftis to authorise civil marriages threatens to
increase child marriage and has drawn outrage from women’s rights
The Turkish Parliament has just approved a Bill, introduced by Turkey’s ruling party,
which authorises muftis (religious representatives) to perform civil marriages.
The government argues that the changes will make the marriage process easier but women’s organisations oppose the Bill on the grounds that it is against the principles of secularism and women’s rights and are calling for it to be withdrawn.
Women’s right campaigners fear that this move will open the way for more underage
marriages and make it much harder to protect young girls. Child marriage is already
a significant problem in some parts of Turkey and it is feared that the change in law will
only increase the harmful practice.
Asli Pasinli, Chair of the Diyarbakir Bar Association’s Women’s Rights Centre, says
that the Bill will ‘strip women of many of the rights that they have acquired over the
years through the constitutional principles of secularism and the civil code’s equality
IKWRO stands with women’s rights campaigners and opposes any regression of
women’s and girls’ rights in Turkey, the UK and globally.