Top court allows married women to use only maiden surname
Oya Armutçu - ANKARAFor the first time ever and contrary to its earlier decisions on the issue in the past, Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals has ruled that women will be able to use only their maiden surname after marriage.
The ruling is an outcome of an appeal by a woman to the Ankara 11th Family Court, who asked for her husband’s surname to be removed from her name so she could use only her maiden surname, while also keeping her family unity.
The court found in favor of the appeal and let the woman use only her maiden surname, while citing the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
Upon an appeal filed against the ruling of the Ankara 11th Family Court by the Directorate General of Civil Registration and Citizenship Affairs, the case was sent to the 2nd Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals. The 2nd Civil Chamber, which in the past had refused such rulings by local courts citing the Surname Law, this time, approved the ruling by the Ankara 11th Family Court.
The unanimous decision released by the Supreme Court of Appeals on April 28 has set a precedent. Thus, from now on, any married woman will be able to use only her maiden surname by appealing to a court.
According to Turkish Civil Code, women can keep their maiden name after marriage but are obliged to also use their husband’s surname.
“Married women shall bear their husband’s name. However, they can make a written declaration to the Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths on signing the marriage deed, or at the Registry of Births, Marriages and Deaths after the marriage, if they wish to keep their maiden name in front of their surname,” says Article 187 of the Turkish Civil Code.
In January 2014, the Constitutional Court had ruled that preventing women from using only their maiden name after marriage is a violation of Article 17 on the personal inviolability and corporeal and psychological existence of the individual.
The decision came at the time as a result of an individual application to the Constitutional Court by a woman who had been fighting to use only her maiden surname after she got married.