MHP supports Turkish government's controversial draft law allowing 'mufti marriages'
ANKARAThe Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) “sees no problem” in a legal change allowing muftis, civil servants of the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), to register and perform marriages, MHP Deputy Group Chair Erhan Usta has said, voicing the party’s support for the government’s controversial draft law.
“We have to popularize civil marriage. Will this regulation contribute to that? It will. This is the critical issue.
No matter who performs it - whether it is municipal officials or muftis – the ceremony will have to be within the boundaries of civil law,” Usta said on July 31.
He claimed that the percentage of civil marriage in Turkey is relatively low and said the new regulation, which will allow local religious civil servants of the Diyanet to solemnize a marriage, will boost the number of registered marriages.
Currently Turkish foreign missions, municipalities, registry offices, captains, and local neighborhood heads (muhtars) have the authority to perform marriages, and this new regulation will only add the office of muftis to the list.
“If it is under civil law, it is not important whether people go to a municipal or [Diyanet] building. So we do not see a problem here. We think it will contribute to the popularization of [marriage],” Usta said.
According to the draft law on civil registration services submitted to parliament on July 25, provincial and local muftis will be granted the authority to conduct marriages in Turkey.
The draft has drawn outrage from opposition voices, who say it will land another blow on secularism in Turkey.
Civil organizations working on women’s rights argue that the regulation will result in the rise of child marriages.