Euro court fines Turkey for refusing to write adoptive mother’s name on son’s ID
STRASBOURGThe European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that Turkey must pay a fine of 2,720 euros for its refusal to allow a single mother to have her forename entered on the personal documents of her adopted son, in place of the child’s biological mother.
The ECHR ruled unanimously on Jan. 20 that there had been a violation of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the right to respect for private and family life), in the case of the mother, Nigar Gözüm.
In particular, the court found that there was a vacuum in Turkish civil law in relation to single parent adoption, because at the time Gözüm made her request there was no regulatory framework for the recognition of the adoptive single parent’s first name in place of that of the biological parent. This left Gözüm in a situation of distressing uncertainty regarding her private and family life with her son, the ECHR stated in its ruling.
Gözüm adopted the young boy, born on Nov. 5, 2003, in 2007. “Gözüm” was registered as the boy’s family name in civil-status registers. However, the authorities left the forename of the child’s biological mother on his identity documents.
On Nov. 23, 2007, Gözüm applied to the Üsküdar District Court to have the biological mother’s forename replaced with her own forename. She argued that the refusal to comply with her request by the authorities amounted to discriminatory and unconstitutional treatment that interfered with their personal, family and social wellbeing.
On March 15, 2009, a legislative reform was introduced that allowed adoptive single mothers to have their forename registered in place of that of the biological mother. However, the Court of Cassation dismissed Gözüm’s appeal in a Nov. 5, 2009 judgment, which did not address the legislative reform in question.
Gözüm again requested that the Civil Registry Office officially register her forename as that of the boy’s mother on Nov. 9, 2010. Her request was successful and subsequently all the official documents relating to the child were amended accordingly.
In her appeal to the ECHR, Gözüm alleged that the rules of civil law, as applied to her at the relevant time, had infringed her right to respect for private and family life, read separately and in conjunction with the prohibition of discrimination. Relying on the right to a fair hearing, she also alleged that the Turkish courts had refused to prevent the situation by filling the legal vacuum in Turkish law in relation to single-parent adoption or by raising a preliminary question.