Less red tape for marital procedures and name changes

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 29.06.2016 01:58

Seeking to streamline bureaucracy, the government announced new steps yesterday that will bring major changes to daily life; including the granting of authority to muhtars -elected village and neighborhood chiefs- and muftis to officiate weddings and the abolition of obligatory court procedures for name and surname changes.

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım revealed the upcoming reforms that will affect the daily lives of millions at his party's meeting in Ankara yesterday. Yıldırım said "landmark" changes in citizenship services will be adopted soon. New reforms will ease the bureaucratic burden and the prime minister said citizens will not "have to visit civil registry offices" to report their marriage or death of family members; though he did not elaborate further. "Our citizens will not have to deal with bureaucracy while they are suffering [the loss of a loved one] or celebrating [marital union]," he said.

He stated that court verdicts mandatory for name changes will also be abolished and citizens would be free to amend misspelled names, derogatory names et cetera without seeking permission from the courts. "You won't need to attend hearings where you are questioned on why you didn't like your name. It will only take a simple application [to civil registry]," he said.

Another major change in civil register involves passports. Passports and driving licenses currently issued by police will be issued by civil registers. "Thus, 5,000 police officers currently assigned with this task will return to their original duties in law enforcement," the prime minister said.

Though Yıldırım did not call it such, another landmark change is taking shape. With new regulations expected to be implemented soon, muhtars and muftis will be able to officiate weddings currently officiated solely by municipality officials and mayors. Muhtars already cheer new attention by the presidency on the post belittled by past administrators. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan occasionally hosts muhtars from across the country at the presidential compound he describes as the "core of the democracy." The elected headmen are typically tasked with trivial paperwork for residents in their constituency. Their new powers will prove especially beneficial for people in remote villages who will not have the means to travel to city centers and municipalities for marriages.

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