Turkish Delight

Another fault-based divorce ruling comes from Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs, which issued a fatwa stating that if a man refers to his wife as either “mother” or “sister,” their marriage will be deemed divorced. What is no-fault divorce?

A Real Turkey

According to Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper, if a man tells his wife that he sees her as a mother or sister, the man will be considered divorced from his wife.

However, if they have not divorced before, they may come together with a new marriage,” it said.

If a man says those things or other phrases like “I divorce you”, “You are not my wife”, “Be free”, “Go off”, or “Go to your father’s house” to his wife with the intention to divorce, the divorce has taken place in terms of Islam, even if it is sent by SMS or by e-mail.

Previously, the Diyanet, the Turkish Religious Affairs Directorate, had issued a fatwa on divorce, stating that couples may get divorced via telephone call, fax, letter, text message or internet.

Turkey’s preeminent religious authority has a long track record of issuing other interesting fatwas. For example, in November, the Diyanet declared the digital currency bitcoin “inappropriate at this moment in time.”

Then it issued a fatwa on hair dye for men, followed by a prohibition on purchasing national lottery tickets. Several days later, it warned against “immoral music.”

Florida No Fault Divorce

I’ve written about no fault divorces before. Historically in Florida, in order to obtain a divorce in Florida, one spouse had to prove the existence of legal grounds such as adultery.

Proving fault often required additional expenses on behalf of the aggrieved party, only serving to make the divorce process more expensive and cumbersome than it already was.

In the years leading up to the enactment of “no-fault” divorce, courts often granted divorces on bases that were easier to prove, the most common being “mental cruelty.”

Over time, the “no-fault” movement expanded to other states, although interestingly it only reached the typically progressive state of New York in 2010.

The Triple Talaq Divorce

Islamic countries have been convulsing lately with the divorce concept of “triple talaq.” Turkey’s Diyanet issued a similar fatwa. According to Hurriyet:

Divorcing your spouse by saying ‘talaq’ three times via phone call, letter, SMS, internet and fax are as valid as saying it to their face. However, in this situation, the husband should not deny the divorce.

If a woman is divorced through written methods such as a text message or letter, she should ensure that the message was sent by her husband.”

The religious body, Diyanet, has no power under Turkish law to issue a divorce. Civil courts grant separations under the 1926 Turkish civil code law. However, Turkey has become increasingly religious over the past several years.

The institution serves the Prime Minister’s office, is responsible for the appointments of personnel at mosques, drafts centralized sermons read at all mosques, and issues fatwas.

Critics argue that the Diyanet is against the impartiality required of a secular state, and that it promotes only one understanding of Islam in Turkey and abroad.

The Hurriyet article is here.