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As Viridis Legal Partners with our team of family lawyers in İstanbul, we recognize the paramount importance of understanding the rights, powers, and duties associated with custody as it pertains to the protection and upbringing of minors. In this guide, we aim to shed light on the intricate nuances of child custody under Turkish law.

In this detailed exploration, we delve into the Turkish Civil Code, shedding light on the regulations governing custody of children, its key principles, and the pivotal role the best interests of the child play in custody determinations. From the fundamental aspects to the complexities of divorce cases and the criteria used by judges to decide custody, we provide valuable insights to empower you in navigating these crucial legal matters. Whether you are facing divorce, seeking custody arrangements, or considering custody modifications, our expert legal team is here to guide you through every step of the process. Read on to gain a deeper understanding of child custody law in Turkey and discover how we can assist you in safeguarding the well-being of your child.

What is Custody? 

Custody can be defined as the rights, powers and duties that parents have regarding the protection of children’s personalities and assets and their representation in order to ensure the protection, care and upbringing of minors and exceptionally limited adult children in various aspects. Accordingly, it can be stated that custody covers the rights, powers and duties related to children’s personal entities, assets and representation. 

In this regard, the Turkish Civil Code regulates custody in general in Article 335 and the following also conveys relevant provisions in divorce and other related family law areas. 

The right to custody is one of the rights strictly attached to the individual. Accordingly, it is not possible to transfer the right of custody, nor can waiver of custody be possible.

In every legal issue where custody rights are discussed, the first thing to consider is that custody rights are for the child, not for the parents. Accordingly, it is expected that the best interests of the child would prevail in exercising the right of custody. In matters related to the child, such as custody rights, the primary principle is the best interest of the child.

The primary aspect of custody in terms of the child’s personal existence is the parent’s right to sovereignty over the child. As stated in Article 335 of the Turkish Civil Code, custody belongs to the parents and cannot be taken away from them unless there is a legal reason. In addition, provided that the interests of the child are taken into consideration, the parents; have the right to determine the child’s education and name him/her. Again, the child’s place of residence is the parents’ house and s/he cannot leave the house without their permission and cannot be taken away from them without a legal reason. This issue is also stated in Article 21 of the Turkish Civil Code, which regulates the child’s place of residence.

According to Article 352 of the mentioned code, the scope of the right of custody regarding the child’s assets is related to the protection, use and especially management of these assets. As a rule, parents are not obliged to provide accountability and assurance regarding the management of the child’s assets.

Who Has The Right of Custody?

Article 336 and subsequent articles of the Turkish Civil Code regulate who will have custody, taking into account various situations. Accordingly, if the parents are married, both of them will exercise the right of custody together. However, if the joint life is terminated or separation occurs, the judge may give custody to one of the spouses. In case of the decease of one of the spouses, custody will belong to the survivor, and in case of divorce, custody will belong to the spouse to whom it is left. If the parents are not married, custody belongs to the mother. If the mother has a condition that prevents her from using custody, for instance, if she is young, limited or dead, or if custody has been taken from her, the judge may decide to appoint a guardian for the child or give custody to the father, depending on the child’s best interests.

Child Custody In Divorce Cases

One of the most disputed matters of divorce cases is child custody. The general rule is that in cases of divorce, custody will be given to one of the spouses by the decision of the judge. 

In Turkish judicial practice, custody is usually temporarily given to one of the spouses as a precaution, upon the opening of a divorce case. Once the divorce takes place, it is decided to whom custody will be given.

What Are The Criteria To Determine The Custody of The Child? 

The judge has wide discretion as to which party will give custody. The measure of this discretion is the best interest of the child. When determining the best interests of the child, the judge; considers criteria such as ensuring his/her physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development.

Situations such as under which party the child will be raised and cared for better, and whose education and training will be provided better, are considered to be in the best interest of the child.

In this context, issues related to the child’s special criteria such as the child’s gender, date of birth, education level, who the child is studying with, whether the party requesting custody is interested in the child’s educational status, his health, and who can provide treatment opportunities based on his health condition are also taken into consideration.

It is inevitable to take into account the characteristics of the mother and father in determining and regulating custody. For this reason, the court decides on issues such as leaving the child to someone else, neglect, abduction, voluntary abandonment, guidance, whether the party has a custody request or not, use of violence, infidelity, economic situation, profession, living environment, bad behaviour, alcohol addiction, health, unstable behaviour and so are taken into account.

In Which Cases The Custody Of The Child Is Not Given To The Mother?

Custody of underage children and children in need of maternal affection and care is given to the mother. As long as it is understood that there is no obstacle to assuming custody, and if the child does not declare a desire to live with the father, custody is usually given to the mother.

If giving custody of the child to the mother will negatively affect the child’s health, education or moral values, custody will not be given to the mother. If both parents are able to take custody of the child, but in the case of divorce, if the child has declared that he wants to live with his father, and if it is understood that there is no obstacle for the father to take custody, custody can be given to the father, considering the best interests of the child. If the mother and father make a joint decision to leave custody to the father, custody can be left to the father. In addition, if it is determined that the mother abused her custody duty, for example, if it is proven that she prevented personal contact with the father and did not allow the child to meet with the father on visiting days, custody may be given to the father, considering the best interests of the child, since the custody right was abused. However, custody is not given to a minor mother.

Joint Custody and Recognition and Enforcement Cases of Joint Custody in Turkish Law

Joint custody can be defined as the mother and father exercising the rights, powers and obligations within the scope of the right of custody by making joint decisions. Within the scope of current legal regulations in Turkish Law, it is essential that custody be given to one of the spouses after divorce.

In countries such as Switzerland and Germany, although the general rule has become that children are under joint custody until they reach adulthood, regardless of the marital status of the spouses, such regulations have not yet been quoted in Turkish Law. Similarly, cases for the recognition and enforcement of joint custody decisions taken abroad have also been rejected. 

With Article 5 of Additional Protocol No. 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which entered into force in Turkey on 1 August 2016, it has been accepted that spouses are equal in terms of their responsibilities for children, even if the marriage ends with divorce. According to Article 90 of the Turkish Constitution, international agreements duly ratified have the force of law. If the agreement provisions regarding fundamental rights and freedoms differ from the laws, the agreement provisions shall prevail. 

Furthermore, the Supreme Court 2nd Civil Chamber in its decision numbered 2016/15771 E., 2017/1737 K. and dated 20.02.2017; reversed its ongoing jurisprudence and decided that joint custody arrangements were not contrary to public order. In this state, in Turkish practice, the recognition and enforcement of joint custody and joint custody decisions have become possible with the agreement of the spouses.

Custody Changing Cases

Decisions regarding custody given as a result of a divorce case are not absolute. According to Article 183 of the Turkish Civil Code, in cases where the best interests of the child can be considered to be damaged due to reasons such as the parent who has custody getting married, changing city or country, dying, entering a vegetative state, receiving inpatient treatment due to alcohol or substance addiction, or going to prison, the judge; It is obliged to take the necessary measures regarding custody upon the request of the parties or on its own.

Accordingly, in case of a permanent change that harms the interests of the child, the spouse who does not have custody will be able to sue and request that custody be given to him or her, without being bound by any period of time.

How We Can Assist You? 

As Viridis Legal Partners, we understand the complexities and sensitivities involved in matters of child custody. Our experienced legal team is committed to providing personalized and expert assistance to help you navigate through the intricacies of custody issues. Whether you are facing a divorce, seeking custody arrangements, or considering modifications to an existing arrangement, we are here to guide you. 

Our family law attorneys ensure that your case is approached with a deep understanding of the legal framework and a focus on the best interests of the child. We offer comprehensive legal support, from initial consultations to courtroom representation, and strive to find amicable solutions whenever possible. With a commitment to safeguarding your rights as a parent and the well-being of your child, we tailor our services to meet your unique needs. Let us be your advocate in securing the best possible outcome for you and your family. 

Contact us today for a consultation and take the first step towards resolving your custody matters with confidence.

Articles on Law

Samples Of Special Power Of Attorney For Divorce

Here, We share with you samples of private divorce power of attorney in English and Turkish.

Sample of Special Divorce Power Of Attorney In English.

My spouse …………, has filed or will file against me, or that I have filed or will file against my spouse, to represent me in any way and in any capacity, to protect my rights and interests, in all parts and degrees of the judicial organs, assemblies, departments and institutions of the Republic of Turkey for the divorce lawsuit and all other lawsuits and proceedings that to file lawsuits, to file enforcement proceedings, to participate in, pursue and conclude lawsuits, to arbitrate and appoint arbitrators, to accept the lawsuit, to waive the lawsuit, to submit all kinds of petitions and documents to the relevant institutions and organisations with its own signature on behalf of me, to notify and serve, to present witnesses, experts, to accept or reject those presented by the other party, to file protests, warnings, notices, to respond to those filed, to offer, accept and reject oaths, to have discoveries made, to be present at discoveries, to object to discovery reports, to request re-discovery, to have precautionary and executive injunctions and attachments made and removed, to carry out all kinds of legal proceedings and follow up all necessary legal proceedings in all executive offices, Supreme Court of Appeals, Court of Accounts, Council of State, Regional Administrative Courts, Tax Courts and State Security Courts, judicial bodies and other government offices established and to be established by law, to review, to appeal the decisions, to request correction of the decisions and return of the proceedings, to complain and reject the judges, experts, arbitrators, witnesses, clerks and experts, to transfer the case, to attend the hearings, to receive and give documents, to make records and copies, to examine the files, To have inaccuracies corrected, to represent me in tax offices, tax appeals, appraisal appeals and provincial reconciliation commissions and bodies established and to be established in these matters by law, to request reconciliation, to sign the minutes, to appeal, to follow and finalise the necessary legal proceedings, to carry out the necessary procedures for the recognition and enforcement of foreign court decisions, to object to the recognition and enforcement, to request to be excluded from the hearings, to request the execution of all decisions from the relevant institutions, to delegate others with some or all of these powers, to be authorised and empowered to grant and dismiss, and to exercise these powers jointly or separately, to settle and release, to accept or reject the lawsuit, to waive the lawsuit and appeal, to accept the waiver of the lawsuit, to participate in the execution auctions, to bid on my behalf, to be a lawyer of Istanbul Bar Association No. 1, residing at Gümüşşsuyu District, İnönü Street, 59/13 Beyoğlu Istanbul … T. C. Identity Numbered Attorney Nadide Özdemir was appointed as my attorney.

Sample of Special Divorce Power Of Attorney In Turkish.

Gerek eşim …………………………………….. ın aleyhime açtığı ve açacağı, gerekse beni eşimin aleyhinde açtığım veya açacağım boşanma davası ve diğer bilumum dava ve takiplerden dolayı Leh ve aleyhimde açılmış ve açılacak dava ve takiplerden dolayı Leh ve aleyhimde açılmış ve açılacak dava ve takiplerden dolayı T.C yargı organlarının, meclislerinin, daire ve kuruluşlarının her kısım ve derecesinde, her yol ve sıfatla beni temsile hak ve menfaatlerimi korumaya, davalar açmaya icra takibinde bulunmaya, açılmış davalara katılmaya, takibe ve neticelendirmeye, tahkime ve hakem tayinine, davayı kabule, davadan vazgeçmeye, her nevi dilekçe ve evrakları beni temsilen kendi imzası ile ilgili kurum ve kuruluşlara vermeye, tebliğ ve tebellüğe tanık, bilirkişi göstermeye, karşı taraftan gösterilenleri kabul veya redde, protesto, ihtarname, ihbarname keşidesine, keşide olunanlara cevap vermeye, yemin teklif, kabul ve redde, keşif yaptırmaya keşiflerde hazır bulunmaya, keşif raporlarına itiraza, yeniden keşif talebinde bulunmaya, ihtiyati ve icrai tedbir ve hacizler yaptırmaya ve kaldırtmaya, icra daireleri, Yargıtay, Sayıştay, Danıştay, Bölge İdare Mahkemeleri, Vergi Mahkemeleri ve Devlet Güvenlik Mahkemeleri ile, yasalarla kurulmuş ve kurulacak yargı organları ve diğer devlet dairelerinin tümünde gerekli her türlü kanuni işlemleri yapmaya, işleri takibe, murafaaya, kararları temyiz etmeye, kararların düzeltilmesi ve yargılamanın iadesini istemeye, hakim, bilirkişi, hakem şahit, katip ve ehlivukufları şikayete ve redde, dava nakline, duruşmalara katılmaya, elden evrak alıp vermeye kayıt ve suretler çıkarmaya, dosyaları tetkike, yanlışlıkları düzelttirmeye, vergi daireleri, vergi itiraz, takdir temyiz ve il uzlaşma komisyonları ile yasalarla bu konularda kurulmuş ve bundan sonra kurulacak organlarda beni temsile, uzlaşma talebinde bulunmaya, tutanakları imzalamaya, itiraza, gerekli yasal işlemleri takip ve neticelendirmeye, yabancı ülke mahkeme kararlarının tanınması ve tenfizi için gerekli işlemleri yapmaya ve tanıma ve tenfize itiraza, duruşmalardan vareste tutulmam yolunda talepte bulunmaya tüm kararların infazını ilgili kuruluşlardan istemeye bu yetkilerin bir kısmı veya tamamı ile başkalarını da tevkil, teşrik ve azle ve bu yetkileri birlikte veya ayrı ayrı kullanmak üzere ahzu kabza, sulh ve ibraya, davayı kabule veya redde, davadan ve temyizden feragate, feragati davayı kabule, icra ihalelerine iştirak etmeye, adıma pey sürmeye mezun ve yetkili olmak üzere İstanbul 1 Nolu Barosu avukatlarından Gümüşşsuyu District, İnönü Street, 59/13 Beyoğlu İstanbul adresinde mukim … T.C. Kimlik Nolu Av. Nadide Özdemir tarafımdan vekil tayin edildi.

Turkey, with its enchanting culture and diverse landscapes, has become a sought-after destination for many foreign individuals seeking love and marriage. However, before embarking on the journey of marrying a Turkish citizen and considering the potential pathway to Turkish citizenship through marriage, it is crucial to comprehend the intricacies of Turkish marriage laws.

As Viridis Legal Partners, your legal guide, with this comprehensive article we aim to provide valuable insights and guidance for expatriates in Turkey and foreign individuals interested in marrying Turkish citizens, as well as those seeking information about obtaining Turkish citizenship through marriage.

Key Points Of The Article

  • Legal Framework:
    • Turkish marriage laws are governed by the Turkish Civil Code No. 4721. The legal age for marriage is 17, and polygamous marriages are strictly prohibited. Foreigners marrying Turkish citizens must comply with specific legal requirements, including the submission of relevant documents.
  • Process of Marrying a Turkish Citizen:
    • Marrying a Turkish woman or man involves navigating legal procedures and cultural considerations. Legal advice is crucial to guide foreign individuals through the step-by-step process, ensuring compliance with legal requirements and obtaining necessary documentation for a recognized marriage.
  • Turkish Citizenship by Marriage:
    • Foreigners can apply for Turkish citizenship through marriage after being married to a Turkish citizen for at least three years. Conditions include living in family unity, avoiding actions incompatible with marriage unity, and not posing a threat to national security and public order.
  • Marriage Procedure for Foreigners:
    • The legal capacity to marry is determined by the respective national laws of the parties. The form of marriage is governed by the law of the state where the marriage is solemnized. The marriage ceremony in Turkey must be performed in the presence of two witnesses, and the validity of marriage does not depend on any religious ceremony.
  • Acquiring Turkish Citizenship Documentation:
    • Foreigners seeking Turkish citizenship through marriage must provide various documents, including an application form, biometric photographs, passport or similar documents, residence permit, and a receipt of the service fee. Applications are submitted to the governorate of the applicant’s residence.

Understanding Turkish Marriage Laws

To ensure a legally valid and binding marriage in Turkey, it is imperative to have a comprehensive understanding of the legal framework governing marriage. The Turkish Civil Code No. 4721 and associated regulations preside over marriage laws in the country. The legal age for marriage is 17 for both men and women, although with judicial permission, men or women can marry at 16 under exceptional circumstances or for a very important reason, with the permission of their legal representatives and the allowing of the judge. Notably, polygamous marriages are strictly prohibited under Turkish law. For more detailed knowledge, you can check our article on the marriage process and its specifications for foreigners.

For foreigners seeking to marry Turkish citizens, there are specific legal requirements, including the submission of relevant documents, such as a valid passport and a certificate of eligibility to marry, which can be obtained from the individual’s embassy or consulate in Turkey.

Process Of Marrying A Turkish Woman Or Man

Marrying a Turkish woman or man involves navigating legal procedures while being mindful of cultural considerations. As a lawyer, it is essential to advise foreign individuals on the step-by-step process of marrying a Turkish woman or man, ensuring compliance with all legal requirements and the acquisition of necessary documentation for a legally recognized marriage.

Turkish Citizenship By Marriage

For foreign individuals aspiring to acquire Turkish citizenship through marriage, it is essential to be well-informed about the eligibility criteria and application processes.

According to Article 16. Turkish Citizenship Law No. 5901

Acquisition of Turkish Citizenship by marriage 

Turkish citizenship is not acquired automatically upon marriage to a Turkish Citizen. However, foreigners who have been married to a Turkish citizen at least for three years and who are still married can apply to acquire Turkish citizenship. Applicant married to a Turkish citizen is required to satisfy the following conditions. 

The applicant: 

a) shall live in family unity; 

b) shall avoid acts not compatible with the marriage unity; 

c) shall not pose a threat to national security and public order. 

In case the spouse who is a Turkish citizen dies after the application is lodged, then the applicant is not required to fulfil clause (a) of the first paragraph. 

(3) In the decision of nullity of marriage, aliens who acquired Turkish citizenship with marriage can preserve their Turkish citizenship, if two sides have entered the marriage contract in good faith. 

Pursuant to Turkish law, foreigners married to Turkish citizens for at least three years can apply for Turkish citizenship. During these three years, the couple must demonstrate a harmonious marriage and the foreign spouse who wishes to gain Turkish citizenship must not pose a threat to national security and public order.

Under Turkish Law especially the Turkish Civil Code, there are some absolute and relative nullity situations such as one of the spouses is already married at the time of marriage, does not have mental competence due to a persistent reason, has mental illness to the degree that it poses an obstacle to marriage, temporary deprivation of mental ability at the time of marriage, consanguinity between the spouses to the degree that it poses an obstacle to marriage.

Additionally, Since the acquisition of Turkish citizenship through marriage is one of the cases of later acquisition with the decision of the competent authority, articles 9, 10 and 11 of Law No. 5901 will also find application in the case of acquiring Turkish citizenship through marriage. Therefore, the applicant must require the following conditions such as be of the age of consent possessing the distinguishing power according to his/her own national legal system, or according to the Turkish law if s/he is stateless; has been resident in Turkey for five years, without interruption, prior to her/his date of application; have the intention of settling in Turkey and prove this intention with action; not have any disease that constitutes a danger to public health; be a person of good morals; speak an adequate level of Turkish; have an income or profession to provide for his own livelihood and those of his/her dependants in Turkey; not pose a threat to national security and public order.

Marrying In Turkey As A Foreigner

As a lawyer, guiding non-Turkish citizens intending to marry in Turkey requires offering clear insights into the legal procedures and requisite paperwork.

According to Article 13 of International Private Law and Procedural Law No. 5718;

Marriage and the General Provisions Thereof 

The legal capacity to marry and the conditions thereof shall be governed by the respective national laws of the parties at the time of the marriage. 

The form of marriage shall be governed by the law of the state where the marriage is solemnized. 

The general provisions of marriage shall be governed by the common national law of the spouses. If the spouses are of different nationalities, the law of their common habitual residence shall govern and in the absence of a common habitual residence, Turkish law shall govern.

With reference to the above-mentioned provision; the intended spouses must have the legal capacity of marriage according to their own state but the valid legal form of marriage will be determined by Turkish Law.

According to the Turkish Civil Code;

Venue of ceremony 

Article 141- The marriage ceremony shall be performed in the presence of two witnesses who are of age and have mental competence by the marriage officer. However, upon request of the parties, the ceremony can also be performed in other venues deemed appropriate by the marriage officer. 

Form of the ceremony 

Article 142- The marriage officer asks the parties the same question, that is, whether they are willing to marry each other. Upon hearing affirmative answers, the marriage shall be enacted. The officer shall declare the marriage to be enacted as per law with the consent of both parties. 

Certificate of marriage and religious ceremony 

Article 143- After completion of the ceremony, the marriage officer provides the parties with a marriage certificate. A religious ceremony shall not be performed without showing the civil marriage certificate. The validity of marriage shall not depend on any religious ceremony. 

Regarding the above-mentioned provisions, according to Turkish Law; The oral form clearly indicated by the law is one of the founding elements of the marriage contract. A marriage that is not made as prescribed by law is void by absence. However, any primitive, religious or local ceremony cannot lead to the conclusion and consequences of a legal marriage.

Documents Required for Application for Acquisition of Turkish Citizenship through Marriage

  • Application Form (VAT-6),
  • 2 pieces 50×60 mm in size, on a white background, without pattern, as determined by ICAO and machine-readable biometric photograph,
  • Passport or similar document showing the state of citizenship, if stateless a notarised Turkish translation of a duly certified document in this regard,
  • Duly certified documents showing all identity information as a basis for registration notarised Turkish translation of the document,
  • If the place of residence is in Turkey, the most recent residence permit,
  • Certified if there is a finalised court decision for any offence an example,
  • If there is no month and day of the applicant’s date of birth, it is necessary to prove this situation with a duly authenticated document issued by the competent authorities of his/her country a notarised Turkish translation or a notarised Turkish translation of the Population Services Law No. 5490 No. 39 to be completed on the first day of July, in accordance with Article 1 of the Constitution signed declaration that he/she has done so.
  • Receipt showing that the service fee has been deposited to the Treasury cashier.

Where To Apply And Application Procedure

Applications for Turkish citizenship by marriage are submitted to the governorate of the place of the applicant’s residence in Turkey and abroad to the foreign governorate to the representative offices in person or with a special power of attorney for the exercise of this right by post. Applications made by post are not accepted by the administration. Citizenship of minors or persons deprived of the power of discernment applications are made by their parents or guardians.

Does Turkish Citizenship End In The Case Of Divorce?

If a person who has become a Turkish citizen through marriage wants to divorce his/her Turkish spouse for any reason, his/her citizenship continues. Termination of marriage does not affect citizenship.

Navigating Challenges And Consideration

Gaining Turkish Citizenship by marrying a Turkish citizen as a foreigner presents unique challenges and considerations that necessitate expert legal counsel. From potential language barriers to bureaucratic hurdles, foreign individuals need practical, legal advice and assistance to navigate these challenges successfully.

As Viridis Legal Partners, our team of experienced professionals is ready to assist you throughout the processes, providing expert guidance and support. We understand the complexities of Turkish marriage and citizenship laws and can provide personalized solutions tailored to your specific needs. Trust us to navigate the legal requirements and ensure a smooth and successful journey toward marrying in Turkey or with a Turkish citizen and obtaining Turkish citizenship. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for reliable legal advice and let us help you achieve your goal of becoming a Turkish citizen.


  1. Can I automatically acquire Turkish citizenship by marrying a Turkish citizen?
    • No, Turkish citizenship is not acquired automatically upon marriage to a Turkish citizen. Foreigners can apply for citizenship after being married for at least three years, meeting specific conditions related to family unity, conduct, and national security.
  2. What are the legal requirements for foreigners marrying Turkish citizens?
    • Legal requirements include submitting relevant documents such as a valid passport, certificate of eligibility to marry, and complying with the Turkish Civil Code No. 4721. The legal age for marriage is 17, and polygamous marriages are strictly prohibited.
  3. How do I apply for Turkish citizenship through marriage?
    • To apply for Turkish citizenship through marriage, foreigners must be married to a Turkish citizen for at least three years, live in family unity, avoid actions incompatible with marriage, and not pose a threat to national security. Applications are submitted with required documentation to the local governorate.
  4. What is the process for non-Turkish citizens to marry in Turkey?
    • Non-Turkish citizens must have the legal capacity to marry according to their state’s laws. The valid legal form of marriage in Turkey is determined by Turkish law. The marriage ceremony is performed in the presence of two witnesses, and a civil marriage certificate is provided.
  5. Does divorce affect Turkish citizenship obtained through marriage?
    • No, the termination of marriage through divorce does not affect Turkish citizenship obtained through marriage. Once citizenship is acquired, it continues even if the marriage is later dissolved.