Women’s rights organizations denounce religious marriage ruling

A number of womenand’s rights organizations have condemned a recent ruling by a Turkish court that legalizes Islamic marriages, arguing that the ruling will lead to an increase in underage marriages and domestic abuse.
Previously, religious marriages were not recognized without an official civil marriage being conducted first, and imams conducting religious marriages without official marriage documents could be imprisoned from two to six months, according to Article 230 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK). The change to the law follows an increasing tendency for unmarried couples in Turkey to cohabit, in addition to a rise in the number of children being born out of wedlock. While participants in civil marriages must be at least 17 years old, religious marriages conducted by an imam have no specific age limit, but the bride must have begun to menstruate.
The Association for Education and Supporting Women Candidates (KADER)ondemned this decision in a written statement shared with the press on Tuesday. and”This decision increases the danger of more child marriages and male polygamy. As it is in our country, one out of every three marriages occurs when [the brides] are andlsquochildrenand’,and” the statement read. The organization argued that this will only increase following the ruling, as will violence against women and womenand’s poverty.
and”This decision is against the CEDAW [Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women] treaty — which outlaws discrimination against women — the Istanbul Convention and is contrary to the principle of equality. According to the Article 41 of our Constitution, it is the stateand’s duty to protect the family and especially mothers and children,and” KADERand’s statement further noted.
The Womenand’s Consultation and Solidarity Center (KAMER) also released a report on Tuesday detailing the various forms of marriage and the victimization of women in Turkey, which they claim to be an extremely sensitive issue for Turkey given the legalization of and”imam marriages.and”
The foundation has released the results of its and”Womenand’s Rights are Human Rightsand” project, consisting of information they acquired from interviewing 24,723 women across Turkey between January 2014 and May 2015. The group found that 90 percent of the women they interviewed believed that they were victims of violence and that only 38.6 percent of those had made an effort to save themselves from their violent circumstances.
A total of 59.6 percent of those surveyed said that they had got married at or after the age of 18, while 25 percent were married between 16 to 17 and 14.6 percent were married between 13 and 15. The survey also revealed that 60.7 percent of the women interviewed had had their marriages arranged by their families, while 34.2 percent married out of love. A total of 5.1 percent stated that they were forced into their marriage.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman