The Case of Children Born out of Wedlock in Turkey: an "Empty" Category?

Funda Ustek Spilda, Oguz Alyanak


This article examines dominant discourses on motherhood in Turkey in light of a puzzling case, which involves women who bear children out of wedlock. Drawing on ongoing political discussions on the Turkish family structure that are rooted in a specific understanding of Islam and gender, and exploring the legal and practical difficulties surrounding birth registration, marriage, and abortion, we ask what constitutes «legitimate» and «illegitimate» modes of relationship between men and women in Turkey, and show how women who give birth out of wedlock are treated as an «empty category» that does not exist in Turkish society.


Keywords: illegitimate children, motherhood, marriage, abortion, Turkey


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