Turkey’s Constitutional Court (AYM) ruled on Friday that married women can keep their maiden name without the need for legal procedures, arguing that the practice of requiring women to change their surnames after marriage is unjust and discriminatory.
The previous provision in Turkish law stated: “Women take their husband’s surname after marriage, but they can also use their maiden name in front of their husband’s surname by making a written application to the marriage officer or later to the population administration. Women who previously used two surnames can only benefit from this right for one surname.”
The AYM argued that it is against the principles of equality that men would “keep their surname from birth throughout their life, while women are denied the same right” in their decision published in the Official Gazette.
Ayten Ünal was the first woman to open a case surrounding her surname in Turkey, and achieved success in 2004 after a process that went as far as the European Court of Human Rights.
The nullification of the provision will come into effect nine months after its publication in the Official Gazette.