ECHR Strasbourg : “Impossibility to use just maiden name is discriminatory”
The European Court of Human Rights found Turkey guilty of violating prohibition of discrimination, stating that impossibility for married women to use just their maiden name is discriminatory.
The European Court of Human Rights found Turkey guilty in the case of Bahar Leventoğlu where the applicant complaint that she was not allowed to keep just her maiden name in official documents after getting married, whereas married men kept their surname. The court convicted the Turkish state of violating the right to respect for private and family life and prohibition of discrimination. In addition, it did not order Turkey to pay any non-pecuniary damages, as the applicant did not demand so.
Married with Atilla Abdulkadiroğlu for 17 years, Bahar Leventoğlu brought court proceedings seeking permission to use only her maiden name on 26 September 2005. Izmir 1st District Court dismissed her request, saying that “women acquire their husband’s last name by marriage, but they can use their maiden name in front husband’s last name if applied to census authorities. Those women who previously used two last names can only benefit this right for one last name” – according to Turkish Civil Code Article 187.
On March 2006 the court verdict was approved by Turkey’s Court of Appeals.
Following a second dismissal on the case, Leventoğlu applied to ECHR on 8 February 2007. Bahar Leventoğlu presented her case according to Article 10 (All individuals are equal without any discrimination before the law, irrespective of language, race, color, sex, political opinion, philosophical belief, religion and sect, or any such considerations.) and Article 90 (The ratification of treaties concluded with foreign states and international organizations on behalf of the Republic of Turkey, shall be subject to adoption by the Turkish Grand National Assembly by a law approving the ratification). In today’s hearing, ECHR convicted the Turkish state of violating the right to respect for private and family life (article 8) and prohibition of discrimination (article 14). “Impossibility for married women to use just their maiden name is discriminatory,” the ECHR verdict said.