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COVID-19 in Turkey: Marriages and divorces on the decline

COVID-19 in Turkey: Marriages and divorces on the decline

The Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) on Thursday released the 2020 figures for marriages and divorces in the country. The figures show the number of couples who got married in 2020 decreased by 10.1% and similarly, the number of couples who got divorced decreased by 13.8%. The coronavirus pandemic, which prompted many couples to postpone their weddings but also forced many dysfunctional couples to spend more time together, appears to have played a role in the decline.

In fact, the most significant drop in marriages and divorces was recorded in April and May, one or two months after the virus made its foray into the country. The marriage rate dropped by more than 68% in April 2020, compared to April 2019. In May, it decreased 61.6% compared to May 2019, a drop which is also linked to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a period when marriage ceremonies are largely shunned. The pandemic caused many to postpone their wedding parties, an inseparable part of marriages in the country, as wedding halls were shut down or forced to operate on a limited capacity. Divorces in April and May decreased by more than 96%. A judicial holiday in August also affected the number of divorces which decreased that month.

Dr. Özcan Kılıç Kafalı, a psychiatry expert based in Istanbul, says the pandemic put pressure on most couples. “Economic problems, concerns about health, future, spending more time together and limits on social life hurt relationships,” he told Ihlas News Agency (IHA) in a recent interview.