Dec 14 2017

Second wife website blocked in Turkey

(Adds Demirel's response.)

Evlilikci.com, a matchmaking website for Muslim men to find more wives, has been blocked by a Turkish court decision.

The country’s internet authority, ICTA, announced that “protection measures have been taken for this website” based on a decision by Ankara 1st Criminal Court on Dec. 13.

Screen shot shows ICTA website displaying court's ban on evlilikci.com, Dec 14, 2017.
Screen shot shows ICTA website displaying court's ban on evlilikci.com, Dec 14, 2017.

The Progressive Women’s Assembly, a women’s right organisation, took legal action for the website to be banned in Turkey, Evrensel newspaper reported.

The complaint said that Turkish Civil Code had prohibited polygamy about 100 years ago, and its practice is contrary to equality and secularism, both of which are principles inscribed on Turkey’s constitution.

Evlilikci.com said all Abrahamic religions allowed polygamy, citing verse 4:3 from the Quran, which says:

If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice.

The about section of the website said that polygamy was suited to Turkish culture, and could “solve the problem of prostitution”.

The website was also promoted as the world’s third and Turkey’s first Muslim polygamy website.

However, the Turkish version is not affiliated with the original Polygamy.com, founded by British entrepreneur of Pakistani origin Azad Chaiwala.

According to the whois records, which show who owns a website, Evlilikci.com is owned by Haluk Murat Demirel, who made news in 2013 for opening a ‘halal’ (permissible in Islam) online sex shop.

Chaiwala was not immediately available for comment.

Demirel said the polygamy websites were not blocked elsewhere, and he was taken by surprise by the ban.

A statement by Evlilikci.com was quoted by Evrensel as saying:

We have learned that polygamy has been decriminalised by a Constitutional Court decision. We know that second marriages happen in Turkey, and we wanted to help victimised women to make a better decision; and earn a little money.

The statement apparently refers to a controversial 2015 ruling by Turkey’s Constitutional Court that allowed religious marriages without a civil marriage.

It received support from the ruling AKP but harshly criticised by women’s rights organisations and law societies who warned that without civil registration, religious marriages will encourage child brides and polygamy.