Ruling allows Turkish women to keep maiden name after marrying
ANKARA – Doğan News AgencyWomen in Turkey will not have to take their husbands’ surnames after getting married, according to a new ruling by the Supreme Court of Appeals.
The ruling by the court’s General Assembly of Civil Chambers confirmed a Sept. 30, 2015 decision that allowed Turkish women to apply to a family court to keep their maiden name after marriage.
Lawyer Alev Yıldız had won a case in 2007 that allowed her client to keep her maiden name - the first such case in Turkey – but the Supreme Court of Appeals later overturned the local court ruling.
“The case then went to the General Assembly of Civil Chambers, which is an upper decision board of the Supreme Court of Appeals. The court has now ruled that my client will be able to keep her maiden name, which will also set a legal precedent,” said Yıldız.
However, she stressed that women still have to file a lawsuit in order to use this right.
“The Civil Registration Office only applies the Civil Code and is not bound by precedent cases. Article 187 of the Civil Code should be changed, because as long as this article remains in place married women will only be able to use this right by filing lawsuits,” said Yıldız.
In the previous rulings, courts rejected married women’s use of maiden names after marriage, citing Article 187 of the Turkish Civil Code. Yıldız said many women demanded to keep their maiden names after marrying for career or personal reasons but were deprived of this right due to Article 187.
“We have accessed this right through our lawsuits by enforcing Turkish courts to abide by international treaties that were transposed into domestic law. I have been fighting for 10 years for my clients to get this right in five separate lawsuits. Now, with its highest body [the Supreme Court Assembly of Civil Chambers], the Supreme Court of Appeals has finally handed over this right,” she added, stressing that the ruling would set a legal precedent.
“General Assembly of Civil Chambers’ decisions are above both local courts and other chambers of the Supreme Court of Appeals. So based on this decision women will be able to access their right to keep their maiden names by applying to local courts,” Yıldız said.