Arranged marriages misunderstood: Şahin
ISTANBUL - Doğan News Agency
Arranged marriage is sometimes misunderstood by German society. Families’ approval is something that strengthens the marriage, not something that weakens it, Şahin says. AA photoWhile admitting the existence of child marriage in Turkey, Family Affairs Minister Fatma Şahin said Oct. 15 that the number of such marriages was decreasing, and more girls are staying in school.
Şahin’s remarks on the issue came during a meeting with a German delegation led by Baden-Württemberg Integration Minister Bilkay Öney. The German public misunderstands arranged marriage in Turkey, which is not something to be condemned, Şahin said.
Baden-Württemberg’s Integration Ministry has reached an agreement with the Muslim communities in their region that these communities will contribute to activities designed to prevent domestic violence, Öney, who is of Turkish origin, said. The issue of “forced marriage” is also on the ministry’s agenda, he said, adding that the ministry wants to cooperate with Turkish officials on these issues.
“In our own traditional structure, if a couple agrees to marry and gets consent from their families; or if families make preparations for the marriage of a young couple and this marriage [takes place with] the young peoples’ consent, we do not call it ‘forced marriage,’” Şahin said. “If [a girl] is 18 years old, thus at the lawful age for marriage, and if she consents, then that is not forced marriage. Arranged marriage is sometimes misunderstood by German society. The approval of the families is something that strengthens the marriage, not something that weakens it. At the moment, forced marriage and child marriage are problems for us too, but as the school age increases and as we keep our girls in school longer, the number of these [marriages] is decreasing. That’s why as a country we attach huge significance to the education of girls.”