As a contract of Family Law, marriage has strictly regulated formal requirements under the Turkish Civil Code (hereinafter referred to as “TCC”). Therefore, the validity of a marriage depends not only on the parties’ capacities to marry or the absence of an impending situation, but also on complete consistence with these strict formal requirements.
Regarding the formal requirements for marriage, TCC refers to the Marriage Regulation and the Law on the Civil Registration Services No.5940. Requirements for non-Turkish citizens are therefore deducted by joint consideration of these two legal texts.
Upon first look, it is clearly understood that identification of the authorized office which will host the marriage is of foremost consideration. According to the Law on the Civil Registration Services Art. 22(2), “the marriage officer is the mayor or officers that will be appointed by the mayor in places where there is a municipality, and the headman in villages and rural areas.”. The same Article also states on its final paragraph that when one of the spouses is a non-Turkish citizen, the authorized office is “mayoral marriage officers or heads of registry offices”, and therefore forbids the headmen and muftis who are authorized for marriage between two Turkish citizens.
Art. 12 of the Marriage Regulation, in addition to the Civil Registration Services Act, clearly states that two non-Turkish citizens can get married in Turkey by an authorized marriage officer. While Turkish officers are solely authorized, there is also a choice for two non-Turkish citizens that are citizens of the same country. Accordingly, if their national law permits and if their country of citizenship approves, two non-Turkish citizens can get married in the Turkish missions of their country of citizenship. Widely known as “consular marriage”, this right is not recognized for refugees and stateless people, who can only get married by a Turkish marriage officer. At this point, it is important to recognize that the “two non-Turkish citizens that are citizens of the same country” stipulation can be changed by treaties and agreements.
Italy is currently the only country that has a treaty with Turkey on this issue, and both countries permit their citizens to get married with a citizen of a third country in their missions in Italy and Turkey.