Turkey approves measure allowing muftis to perform marriage

Opposition says Erdogan-backed law will increase child brides

19 October, 13:51

    ISTANBUL - The Turkish Parliament has approved a measure that authorises "muftis", Islamic authorities recognised as civil servants, to perform marriage ceremonies.

    Previously, marriages in Turkey could only be registered by civil authorities.

    The measure was strongly contested by the opposition when it was presented to the country's Grand National Assembly in late July.

    It was also the focus of various protests by secular and feminist groups who claim it will increase the number of child brides, especially in the country's rural areas.

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan publicly supported the law, telling its critics that it would be approved "whether you like it or not".

    Those in the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), led by Erdogan, said the scope of the measure, which was inserted in a package that will undergo a final unitary vote, is to "facilitate the procedures for marriage".

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