12 Apr 2018

Turkish bride marries without groom 

A wedding in Turkey’s Diyarbakir province took place without a groom last week, after he was arrested on charges of insulting Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Guest Mavens
Guest Mavens NewsMavens, Europe
Source: BBC Turkce
Turkish bride marries
without groom  - NewsMavens
Bride. Pixabay

Why this story matters:

-- by Ans Boersma

The ‘wedding arrest’ is not the first detention that attracts public attention. In March, Turkish singer and actress Zuhal Olcay was sentenced to 10 months in prison for insulting the president during a performance in 2016. Enes Kanter, a Turkish basketball player in the U.S. NBA team New York Knicks, is also standing trial for insulting Erdogan.

Insulting president Erdogan is a crime punishable by up to four years in prison in Turkey.

The groom, Rohat Akboğa, got jailed because he insulted president Erdogan on social media. Twenty-seven social media messages that Akboğa has posted since 2012 were judged to be insults by the court. His vehicle was stopped by the police on the day of his wedding. Upon checking his ID, the police took Akboğa -- who had been issued a prison sentence of more than 2 years -- into custody.

So far, 1800 cases have been filed against people including cartoonists, a former Miss Turkey winner and schoolchildren.

In Erdogan’s Turkey, there is no room for critical writing and online activism, in violation of the right to freedom of expression. There are stories about arrests in the media on a daily basis. You get used to it. But, as a journalist, this particular story caught my attention because it so clearly illustrates the impact of arrests on family life in the country. 

Details from the story:

  • The bride and groom’s family decided to go through with the wedding, despite the groom’s arrest. The jacket of the groom was placed on his empty chair. Bride Sara Başak cut the wedding cake on her own.
  • The couple had already had a civil marriage ceremony.
  • The prison sentence got delivered shortly before the wedding. The family went to the prosecutor's office, showed the invitation of the wedding and asked the arrest to be postponed. This request got denied.
  • The family is convinced that the police waited until the wedding day to arrest Rohat Akboğa.

** Ans Boersma is a Dutch journalist, currently working in Turkey as an economic correspondent. She also writes about migration, women’s movements and civil society.**

inbox_large_illu Created with Sketch.
Tired of the news media’s prevailing male perspective? We are too.

Get our newsletters composed exclusively by female journalists from all over Europe.


Project #Femfacts co-financed by European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology as part of the Pilot Project – Media Literacy For All

The information and views set out on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

NewsMavens is a media start-up within Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's largest liberal broadsheet published by Agora S.A. NewsMavens is currently financed by Gazeta Wyborcza and Google DNI Fund.
Is something happening in your country that Newsmavens should cover?
Zuzanna Ziomecka
Zuzanna Ziomecka EDITOR IN CHIEF
Lea Berriault-Jauvin
Lea Berriault Managing Editor
Jessica Sirotin
Jessica Sirotin EDITOR
Ada Petriczko
Ada Petriczko EDITOR
Gazeta Wyborcza, Agora SA Czerska 8/10 00-732, Warsaw Poland
The e-mail addresses provided above are not intended for recruitment purposes. Messages concerning recruitment will be deleted immediately. Your personal data provided as part of your correspondence with Zuzanna,Lea, Jessica and Ada will be processed for the purpose of resolving the issue you contacted us about. The data provided in your email is controlled by Agora S.A. with its registered office in Warsaw Czerska 8/10 Street (00-732). You can find more information about the processing and protection of your personal data at https://newsmavens.com/transparency-policy