Women in Turkey under Pressure of Inconsistent and Contradictory Legal Systems: Secular versus Islamic

Document Type : Research Paper


PhD Candidate, International Islamic University of Malaysia


As Turkey is officially a secular state and it adopts Swiss Civil Code, the
state implements secular legal system. However, as people in Turkey are predominantly
Muslim and theyare born and raised in a traditionally Muslim environment,
people generally and especially women live under the influence of these two sometimes
contradictory and inconsistent legal systems and customs. As a result, there
are clashes and especially Muslim women are subjected to the negative impact of
those clashes. So for example, women who wear headscarf because of being in
line with Islamic principles face problems when they want to go to school or work
or engage in politics. Or when they want to keep their maiden surname which is
very mainstream practice in many Muslim societies, it becomes impossible for Muslim
women in Turkey because of the secular Swiss Law. In the present paper the
circumstances in which Muslim women live under these inconsistent and contradictory
legal systems will be studied.