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Turkish Law on the Protection of the Family (1998)


Turkish law to protect women.

The Law on the Protection of the Family primarily aims to improve the handling of domestic violence cases. Before its enactment, such cases were tried in accordance with the Criminal Code, thus requiring victims to appeal to the police and to obtain a report from a state hospital. Women's organizations have claimed that such requirements inhibit women's appeal to legal recourse, because police and doctors are usually more interested in the "reconciliation" of spouses than in initiating legal action. With the introduction of the law, the complaint of the victim or the decision of the public prosecutor suffices to order immediate removal of the abuser from the domicile or imprisonment for up to six months.

The issue of domestic violence is central to Turkey's post-1980 feminism, and the enactment of the law illustrates a successful collaboration between activists and the state. Among many others, three organizationsthe Purple Roof Foundation, the Altındağ Women's Solidarity Foundation, and Women for Women's Rightshave closely worked with the General Directorate on the Status and Problems of Women to secure support from parliamentarians, jurists, and the media.

The impact of the law on social attitudes is, however, questionable. The number of reported cases of domestic violence did not decrease significantly in the five years after passage of the law, and, according to a study conducted among college students, most males still approve of wife beating.

see also gender: gender and law; gender: gender and politics; turkey.


Arat, Yeşim. "Feminist Institutions and Democratic Aspirations: The Case of the Purple Roof Women's Shelter Foundation." In Deconstructing the Images of "The Turkish Woman," edited by Z. Arat. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998.

Sakallı, Nuray. "Beliefs about Wife Beating among Turkish College Students: The Effects of Patriarchy, Sexism, and Sex Differences." Sex Roles 44, nos. 910 (2001): 599610.

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