Turkey recognises men and women as equals

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The Independent Online

Turkey revised revised its civil code on Thursday, formally recognising men and women as equals 75 years after the code was first introduced.

Turkey revised revised its civil code on Thursday, formally recognising men and women as equals 75 years after the code was first introduced.

The new code advances women's rights on several fronts. It contains 1,030 articles and took parliament a month to debate and approve. It comes into effect on 1 January 2002.

"This symbolises a historic turning point," said the Flying Broom, a women's rights group. "Our country is closer to achieving the goal of equality between women and men."

The code has been virtually unchanged since 1926. It designated the man as head of the family and gave woman no say in decisions concerning the home and children. In a divorce, women were only entitled to property legally registered under their names.

The new code uses plainer, more politically correct language and scraps the phrase "the head of the marriage union is the man". Men and women are given equal say while making decisions concerning the family.

Previously, a woman had to seek her husband's permission to work outside the home, although a court ruling in 1994 voided that provision. The new code makes clear that a woman does not need her husband's consent to accept a job.

Turkey adopted its previous code from Swiss family law, replacing the Ottoman system, which allowed a man to have more than one wife or to repudiate a wife. The 1926 code was considered revolutionary for a Muslim country but it failed to keep up with the times.

The new code does not mention modern issues such as surrogate motherhood or same-sex marriages. (AP)

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