Data released yesterday by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) indicated a 4.5 percent increase in divorces in Turkey, while the marriage rate remains steady.
Figures from 2014 provide testament to the Turkish population's traditional belief in the institution of marriage with only a 0.1 percent drop in the number of marriages.
TÜİK said that more than 599,000 couples got married last year and that the crude marriage rate was 7.8 per 1,000 for the same year. Divorces amounted to 130,913, with a rate of 1.7 per 1,000 people – a 4.5 percent rise compared to 2013.
Experts attribute divorce rates to a lack of marriage counseling. The Ministry of Family and Social Policies offers marriage counseling services to prevent divorces. The ministry notes that most divorce cases, filed over minor disagreements between couples, are resolved if the couple attend counseling sessions. If a divorce proceeds anyway, the ministry also offers counseling services for children of divorced couples.
Marriage rates are the highest in Kilis, a city bordering Syria, according to TÜİK, and it is followed by the nearby city of Adıyaman and Van, another border city in the east neighboring Iran. Kilis surpassed Adıyaman, which topped the list in 2013. The lowest marriage rate was in the northwestern city of Çanakkale with 5.93 per 1,000 people.
As for divorces, Antalya, a southern city that is a popular vacation resort, leads again with the highest crude divorce rate of 2.87 per 1,000 people, and it is followed by the western city of İzmir and Antalya's neighbor Muğla. Although no study is available to explain the high rate of divorce in cities in the west, all three cities are known for having a population that is viewed as less conservative than the rest of the country. The lowest divorce rates were in the eastern and southeastern cities, including Hakkari, Şırnak and Bitlis.
Figures also found that most divorces in Turkey take place within the first five years of marriage.
Data shows that the average age for newlyweds was 26 for men and 23 for women, and the average age difference in first-time marriages is 3.2 years, showing no deviation from 2013 figures.
The government recently prepared a set of incentives for couples planning to marry that is expected to be passed by Parliament in the near future. It includes benefits to help couples cover wedding expenses and funds to assist in the purchasing of a residence.
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