TV host stuns Turkey: 'I'd let my husband have another wife'

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The Independent Online

A television talk show host has sparked outrage in Turkey by saying she believes polygamy should be legalised because "it is written in the Koran".

Sibel Uresin, an Islamic 36-year-old counsellor, columnist and occasional talk show host, told Turkey's Beyaz TV that she had even offered her friend to her own husband. "I had a single friend. I told my husband 'if you want to get married to her, I consent'," she said. "Of course he wouldn't have said 'yes' but even if he did, I wouldn't have got a divorce."

Ms Uresin was being questioned about statements she made last year regarding her belief that men should be allowed multiple wives. When reported at the time, her comments provoked outrage. Many Turks believe that cultural tensions are growing between secular and religious elements in society, and Ms Uresin's comments were seen as adding fuel to the fire.

The case for polygamy is based on a survey which says an estimated 85 per cent of men in Turkey are unfaithful to their wives, claimed Ms Uresin.

Since men were prone to relationships outside of marriage, they should be allowed to take on multiple wives, she said. She also argued that polygamy was already prevalent in Turkey as a result of the religious marriages performed by local imams.

A total of 200,000 women in Turkey are in legally unrecognised polygamous marriages, according to some studies. If a marriage is recognised only under Islamic law, a man who wants to divorce a woman just needs to repeat "I divorce you," three times.