8 January 2014
The Constitutional Court has ruled that preventing women from using only their maiden name after marriage is a violation of Article 17 on the personal inviolability and corporeal and psychological existence of the individual.
According to Turkish law, women can keep their maiden name after marriage but are obliged to also use their husband’s surname.
The decision came as a result of an individual application to the Constitutional Court by a woman who had been fighting to use only her maiden surname after she got married.
The woman, Sevim Akat Ekži, kept her maiden name along with her husband’s surname, before filing a lawsuit in 2005 following a number of problems related to the issue. However, both a local court and the Supreme Court of Appeals subsequently rejected her demand.
The decision by the Constitutional Court said Ekži’s rights regarding Article 17 had been violated and ordered the case to be retried so as to rectify the violation and its consequences. At the same time, however, Ekži’s demand for compensation for emotional damages was rejected.
The decision considered Article 17 within the framework of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the right to personal life and describes the surname as an individual right which is one of the most important factors that identifies an individual.