Divorced dads get organized in Turkey

A man kisses his sons as he sits outside the Eyup Sultan Mosque after Eid al-Fitr prayers in Istanbul, Sept. 20, 2009. (photo by REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl)

An excerpt from this article: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/12/turkey-divorced-dads-get-organized-see-children.html#

Female victims of violence and abuse by men often make the headlines in Turkey, but now men are also raising their voices, to complain about ex-spouses. More than 400 Turkish men have lodged complaints with the parliament’s Petition Commission over outrageous alimonies and being barred from seeing their children.

A total of 287 divorced men called for their rights to be protected, saying that they were unable to see their children, that mothers raised barriers for fathers and that existing procedures worked against men. Another 151 requested legal amendments to reduce the alimonies they are forced to pay.


Necil Beykont, who founded the website Divorced Fathers in 2006 to give a voice to fathers barred from seeing their children, has a completely different vantage point on the issue: “The fathers — that is — the newly divorced men, are also to blame. They are diluting the issue. We had already begun to make our voices heard, but now they say they pay too much in alimonies and want this to be taken up as well. Childless men are even more vocal on the issue. With the alimony issue brought in, things naturally become watered down. What we advocate is not the rights of men, but the rights of children and fathers — that is, the right of children to have contact with their dads. Men who are not even fathers are bringing up their alimony problems — their pocket problems — which is making things more difficult for us and even undermining our cause. We cannot even begin to talk about the child’s right to grow up with both parents.”

The Divorced Fathers site has more than 20,000 members today. In remarks to Al-Monitor, Beykont, an instructor at Istanbul’s Bahcesehir University, explained how his group’s efforts last year eventually came to naught: “In 2013, we drew up a report at the end of one month’s work with the Justice Ministry’s Directorate-General of Laws and Regulations, investigating judges from the appeals court and family court judges. We came up with ideas on which legal provisions should be amended and what training programs should be drawn up for officials in family courts. But the two ministers with whom we worked quit their posts to become mayors. Their successors have not taken up the issue yet. The Health Ministry, too, should join us. There is a syndrome called ‘parental alienation,’ which the ministry should add to its list of ailments. Psychologists and pedagogues should be involved both in the court process and in the post-divorce period, and their assessments should be taken into account. We need to raise awareness in Turkey of this issue and take action.”

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