World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey's western province of İzmir led the divorce rate across the country last year, according to the İzmir directorate of the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat).
The crude divorce rate for Izmir was 2.74 people per thousand in population, while the national average for Turkey was 1.59 per thousand.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) defines the crude divorce rate as “the number of divorces occurring among the population of a given geographical area during a given year, per 1,000 mid-year total population of the given geographical area during the same year.”
İzmir was followed at the top of the list by the provinces of Aksaray, Antalya, Nevşehir and Muğla, while the eastern provinces of Hakkari, Şırnak, Bitlis, Siirt and Muş were on the bottom of the list.
In terms of the number of divorces, a total of 23,527 couples were divorced in Turkey last year. The largest actual number of divorces granted, 4,891, occurred in the most densely populated city of İstanbul. The city of İzmir was second with 2,073 and Ankara third with 1,760 divorces granted.
Most marriages that end in divorce usually do so within the first five years. The category of couples who have been married greater than 16 years make up the second largest number of marriages that end in divorce.
In 2010, a total of 175,711 couples were married across Turkey. The average age for a first marriage was 26.5 for men and 23.3 for women.
The most common reason cited for the high divorce rate in Izmir was financial hardship. Professor Ercan Tatlıdil of the sociology department at İzmir's Ege University said the city experiences a large influx of migrants and that unemployment is one of the main reasons behind the divorce rate in the city. He said the higher crude divorce rate is directly related to the higher unemployment rate in İzmir.
Divorce rates in general have been observed to have increased across the nation in the recent years. Lawyer Ahmet Köse, who also works as an expert in social services, says relationships are falling apart due to the pressure of busy work schedules, while clinical psychologist Vildan Kavak emphasizes that couples often divorce due to a lack of communication.
In the first three quarters of last year, there were 87,043 cases of divorce, with the total for last year expected to reach to 120,000.
According to TurkStat 604,000 couples have divorced since 2005, while 3,700,000 couples were married in the same period.
“Lame excuses,” as Köse calls it, end marriages rather than financial problems. Noting that most divorces take place in the first five years of marriage, Köse says: “Couples are quick to divorce during the period of adjustment and before sufficiently considering the consequences. Also, the children of divorced couples are more inclined to be divorced.”
Köse sees the breakdown of traditional values as one of the leading reasons for the divorce rate. Arguing that that popular media is alienating society from traditional values, Köse says: “TV shows damage the nation's values. Women and men who have busy work schedules are becoming estranged from their families. New relationships and financial stress contribute to divorce decisions. … We witness these issues at courts. Couples split up because of minor problems, and it's the children who are the victims.”
The lawyer says that family courts attempt to convince couples not to divorce, and he suggests that psychological counseling services must be taken by couples considering divorce.
Köse also believes children can play an important part in helping families to stay together, as they “increase the common responsibilities and togetherness of the sides.” When there are children, “a marriage becomes a home,” he says.
Kavak points out the television is an obstacle for communication in a family.
“Apart from the content, we know that TV shows negatively influence communication and sharing in a family. … Inappropriate behaviors depicted on television, including divorce and cheating, lead to negative consequences. Instead of making choices and decisions based on our own values and standards, we are influenced by what we see on television. We tend to adopt values and behaviors based on norms portrayed in the media and especially on TV shows,” he says.
Marriage and divorce figures in Turkey
Year Marriages Divorces
2005 641,241 95,895
2006 636,121 93,489
2007 638,311 94,219
2008 641,973 99,663
2009 591,742 114,162
2010 435,040 87,043 (9 months)
İzmir leads Turkey divorce rate nationwide in 2010
Turkey's western province of İzmir led the divorce rate across the country last year.
World Bulletin / News Desk