Muftis still not authorized to conduct marriages: Top religious body
Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) said Nov. 16 that there has been no authorization by the Interior Ministry for muftis to perform legal marriages yet.
The statement came after a wedding was conducted by a mufti for the first time in Turkey, in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, on Nov. 15.
Ahmet Durmuş, the mufti of Diyarbakır’s Bismil district, performed the marriage of Özlem Sevim and Mehmet Emin.
Muftis will start conducting legal marriages after authorization by the Interior Ministry, Diyanet said in a statement, adding that they were still working together on the issue.
A contentious legal article allowing muftis to perform and register marriages was published in the Official Gazette on Nov. 3, formally legalizing the regulation after it was approved by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The article, which was approved by parliament on Oct. 18 amid fierce objections from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), has thus now officially gone into effect.
The bill, titled “Draft Law on the Amendment of the Civil Registry Services Act and Some Other Laws,” had passed in parliament with support from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
The bill had been submitted to parliament on July 25, drawing strong criticism from opposition parties and women’s rights groups.
The law previously assigned state registrars in local municipalities to record all marriages.
Critics of the new regulation argue that it will pave the way for “unrecorded marriages” and “child marriages.” They also say it violates the secular principles of Turkey’s civil code and will compromise the civil rights of women, including the right to divorce and heredity.