A 30-year-old İstanbul man has married his niece, sparking a criminal investigation after the bride's family filed a complaint against local officials who officiated the wedding, Turkish media reported on Sunday.
The man, identified only as F.K., married 24-year-old university student Ş.K. in September of 2010 in Bağcılar, İstanbul, a report in the Habertürk daily said. Ş.K.'s parents found out by chance that their daughter had actually married four months ago, but the young woman refused to tell them who her husband was when confronted and the couple disappeared the next day.
The family had learned about their daughter's marriage to her uncle after inquiring about the marriage at the civil registry office. Shocked, the parents demanded the marriage be annulled and filed a complaint against officials who officiated the wedding.
The prosecutor's office has ruled that the marriage is invalid despite the official ceremony and have also launched a probe against the chief official at the Bağcılar Civil Registry Office and the Bağcılar Municipality official who officiated the wedding for allowing the marriage to take place.
However, the Bağcılar District Governor's Office has said the officials should not face prosecution as it was not possible for them to determine whether the couple was related. But legal experts criticized the district governor's office's decision, saying the officials in question may face up to two years in jail for sanctioning an incestuous marriage.
“This is the first time I have seen an incestuous marriage being officiated by the state,” Kahraman Eroğlu, deputy mayor of İstanbul's Şişli district, was quoted as saying by Habertürk. “If the civil registry system is unable to identify relatives, this is a serious deficiency. It should be fixed immediately.”