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Home > Turkey > Law and religion > Provisions > Marriage > Precedence of the civil mariage

Precedence of the civil mariage

Since the adoption of the Swiss Civil Code in 1926, the Muslim family and personal law no longer have legal value in Turkey. On the other hand, for social reasons, the religious weddings (imam nikahi) remain the prestigious choice for the socio-religious legitimation of a union among the rural population and lower classes. They are no longer practiced by the higher classes.
Legally, the religious wedding must be preceded by the civil ceremony. The Imams - must of them Government workers - are required to refuse to marry a couple in a religious ceremony if the couple fails to present a civil marriage certificate. In actual fact, every year especially in the summer, the town council organises civil marriage campaigns during which couples that have already been joined in religious ceremonies participate, sometimes in their hundreds. This clearly shows that often, the religious union precedes the civil ceremony.
Polygamy is illegal although isolated cases exist among the Kurds in the South-East where certain tribal customs are still practiced.

8 October 2012