ECHR: “Waiting period for divorced women in Turkey to remarry is discriminatory”

ECHR: “Waiting period for divorced women in Turkey to remarry is discriminatory”
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The court ruled that the practice, which requires women to wait 300 days after finalizing their divorce before marrying someone else, violates the European Convention on Human Rights.

The practice of requiring divorced women in Turkey to wait 300 days before they can remarry is a form of discrimination, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) declared on Tuesday. This waiting period, enshrined in Turkish laws, has been found by the ECHR to violate the European Convention on Human Rights.

The ruling was given in the case of “Nurcan Bayraktar vs. Turkey.” In its decision, the ECHR concluded unanimously that the practice violates Article 8 of the Convention, which regulates the right to respect for private life, as well as Article 14, which prohibits discrimination.

In Turkey, the law requires women to wait a minimum of 300 days after their divorce is finalized before they can marry someone else.

The framework for the waiting period, known as "iddet" is determined in the Turkish Civil Code and it says the period ends with childbirth if 300 days have not passed.

If it is determined that the woman is not pregnant from her previous marriage, or if the former spouses wish to remarry each other, the court may waive this period.

The ECHR ruled that the 300-day waiting period and the requirement for medical documentation to prove non-pregnancy, in order to shorten the waiting period, cannot be justified. Therefore, the court concluded that the plaintiff's right to respect for private life had been violated.

Furthermore, the court stated that this practice directly constitutes gender discrimination and rejected the argument that it is a measure taken to prevent uncertainty regarding the identity of the child's father.

It was emphasized that the treatment the plaintiff received based on her gender is unnecessary and cannot be justified by any reasoning.

Additionally, the court highlighted that there is no place in modern society for an intention to determine the biological father, such as preventing "confusion in the family registry."

Following the ECHR's preliminary decision, the parties have a three-month period to request a final decision.