Dear friends,

We're very happy to inform you that the reform of the civil code, for which
the women's movement in Turkey has been lobbying for many years, has been
finally accepted by the Turkish Parliament.

The amended civil code scraps the supremacy of men in marriage and allows
women to have a say in all matters related to the marriage, thus
establishing the equality of men and women in the family. One of the most
important changes included in the 1030 amendments to the civil code sees
the removal of the clause that defines the man as the head of the family,
giving equal status to the woman. The new code also raises the legal age
for marriage to 18 both for women and men (which was previously 17 for men
and 15 for women). Children born outside marriage will be given the same
inheritance rights as others and single parents will be allowed to adopt

The most controversial issue of the new civil code was the reform of the
clause regulating the matrimonial property. The original draft of the new
civil code foresaw that all matrimonial property should be split 50/50.
This clause met the strong resistance of the nationalists and the religious
conservatives in the parliament, who insisted on the separate property
regime, which has been the rule in Turkey since 1926.

Due to a big campaign initiated and coordinated by women's groups all
around the country since the beginning of the year, the nationalists and
the religious conservatives were forced to accept the new property regime,
which entitles women to an equal share of the assets accumulated during the
time of the marriage. However, due to a last minute law formulated by the
opposition parties, which will be discussed in the parliament next week,
this clause will be valid only for property acquired after Jan. 1, 2003.
We, as women's groups continue to protest this law and are planning to go
to the constitutional court in case it is accepted by the parliament.

WWHR will soon publish a booklet on the new Turkish Civil Code in English.
If you want copies of this publication, please write to

In solidarity,

Pinar Ilkkaracan

Women for Women's Human Rights (WWHR) - NEW WAYS

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