Turkish man welcomes 32nd child as four wives await social aid

Turkish man welcomes 32nd child as four wives await social aid

HATAY – Doğan News Agency
Turkish man welcomes 32nd child as four wives await social aid

DHA Photo

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has long encouraged families to have at least three children, but one father in Hatay has gone the extra mile, siring 32 children from four wives.

Thirty-two, however, is apparently not enough for Halit Tekin, who has ambitions to over-fulfill his child quota by fathering a total of 50 kids.

Tekin, a resident of the Reyhanlı district in the southern province of Hatay, entered his first marriage, his only legal one, in 1982 with Nihal Tekin, who was only 15 years old at the time. He later went on to also marry Gül Şaşar (41), Zekiye Koğu (41) and Fatma Budak (54) - all unofficially, as polygamy is illegal in Turkey.

The 54-year-old Tekin lost one of his children six months ago, before he and Nihal recently had another child, a baby boy named Ahmet.

“Today, I have 32 kids and 12 of them are boys. I love them all. If my health permits, God willing, I want to raise the number to 50,” he told Doğan News Agency.

Five of his children are married and he also has 18 grandchildren. He said his wives do not have any quarrels with each other and all live in separate houses.

“I make a living singing at local events. With my wives, children, daughters-in-law and grandchildren, we are a family of 60. As we cannot fit in a single house, each family lives in a separate house. We all get along quite well," Tekin said, stressing that he knows the names of all his children and enjoys spending time with them.

Koğu agreed that there was peace among all the family numbers, but admitted that financing such a large family was often challenging.

“We are a very big [family] and there are times when we hardly meet the needs of the family. Winter has now come and [the state] gives coal aid to those who are in need. We are waiting for support from the district governor’s office and the Social Welfare Foundation,” she said.

A 2013 parliamentary study showed that around 372,000 men in Turkey were in polygamous relationships. The southeastern province of Şanlıurfa tops the list, with some form of polygamy in 7.4 percent of all families in Şanlıurfa. Although Turkish laws forbid polygamy, a noteworthy percentage of Turkish men marry additional wives in unrecognized religious weddings.

In the latest World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Gender Gap Report 2014 released on Oct. 28, Turkey ranked 125th out of 142 countries in terms of gender equality.