Changes in the practice of imam marriages in Turkey: 1963-2003

Hatice Yaprak Civelek, Yeditepe University
Ismet Koc, Hacettepe University Institute of Population Studies

The 1926 civil code made by the parliament under the presidency of Ataturk outlawed imam marriage which is accepted as legal in Islamic laws. In its place civil marriage was replaced entailing equal rights for the man and the woman. Religious marriages contracted before a member of the religious establishment were not recognized as lawful unions, and their progeny were considered illegitimate. Like other reformist legislation, the new civil code initially had only limited effect in the countryside. Even in 1970s approximately a third of the couples initiated their marriages with religious marriage. The paper focuses on changes in the practice of imam marriages and their transition process in Turkey. The paper follows each of the marriage starting from its initiation until the time of the survey in order to understand whether any transition occurs considering the squence of the events (imam marriage or civil marriage) and duration between them. Although approximately 90 percent of the couples in Turkey have both ceremonies at the time of the surveys, data shows that majority of them initiated their marriages with imam ceremony and then made a transition to civil marriage mostly within 10 years following the imam marriage. Data comes from marriage histories of Turkey Demographic and Health Surveys conducted in 1993, 1998 and 2003, which include detail information on marriage patterns (date of marriage, type of ceremony, type of first ceremony, duration between ceremonies etc…) starting from 1960s. Apart from descriptive analysis, the paper utilizes the life table method to obtain the transition probabilities between marriage types.

Presented in Poster Session 1

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