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Name and Surname Change Lawsuit in Turkey

In this article, topics such as the conditions for name change, the lawsuit process, changing the name or surname without going to court (without a lawyer), name change for minors under 18, and name change through E-Government will be examined.

 

Is it Possible to Change a Name Without Going to Court?

The system, which was introduced in our country in 2023 and allowed changing names and surnames through the E-Government, is no longer active. However, it is still possible to change names without going to court in some cases. If we look at these conditions:

The Law No. 7039 Amending the Population Services Law and Some Laws was published in the Official Gazette dated 03/11/2017 and numbered 30229.

How to Change Name and Surname Without a Court Decision?

According to the Surname Law No. 2525, names and surnames can be changed with a written application to the population directorate of the place of residence. This change covers names and surnames with spelling and punctuation errors or meaning changes due to the lack of a correction mark and can be made once without a court decision with the decision of the provincial or district administrative board.

Whose Surnames Are Corrected in Surname Change Decisions?

The surnames of men whose surnames are changed by the decision of provincial and district administrative boards are also corrected for their wives and minor children at the time of application. The surnames of women whose surnames are changed are also corrected for their minor children born out of wedlock. These decisions are final.

Where Should Applications for Surname Change Be Made?

Our citizens can apply in writing to the population directorate of their place of residence within two years to change surnames contrary to the surname law or names and surnames with meaning changes without a court decision with the decision of the provincial or district administrative board once.

Changing Names Without a Lawyer

According to the Turkish Civil Code, it is mandatory for a person to apply to the court to change their name. It is not necessary to hire a lawyer for this application, so the person can apply on their own.

The procedures for name change generally include:

Application to the Population Directorate: To apply for a name change, you need to apply to the Population Directorate where you reside. You will be asked to provide the necessary documents and information in this application.

Court Application: You may need to apply to the court with the documents you will receive from the Population Directorate.

Announcement Process: After applying to the court, if your name change request is accepted by the court, it may be necessary to announce this change officially in a newspaper. After the announcement process is completed, your name change will be official.

Updating Population Records: After the name change is completed, you need to apply to the Population Directorate to update your new name in your population records.

In summary, according to Turkish Law, a court decision is required for a name change, and it is up to you whether you want to work with a lawyer during this process, but hiring a lawyer is not mandatory.

Name Change for Minors Under 18

In Turkish Law, it is also possible for individuals under the age of 18 to change their names, but this process involves some additional procedures. As a rule, the consent of the guardian or custodian is required for a person under the age of 18 to change their name. The granting of permission for name change is based on the child’s benefit and the evaluations made by the court.

Here are the general procedures for name change for individuals under 18:

Guardian or Custodian’s Consent: According to the Turkish Civil Code, the consent of the guardian or custodian is required for a person under the age of 18 to change their name. Name change cannot be made without the consent of the guardian or custodian.

Court Application: After obtaining the consent of the guardian or custodian, an application is made to the court to formalize the name change. When applying to the court, it is necessary to submit the consent of the guardian or custodian and other required documents.

Court Decision: The court evaluates the consent of the guardian or custodian and may approve or reject the name change based on the child’s benefit. If the court’s decision is positive, the name change is formalized.

Announcement and Population Record Update: After the court decision, the name change is usually announced in a newspaper, and the population record is updated.

In summary, the consent of the guardian or custodian is required for a person under the age of 18 to change their name, and after obtaining this consent, an application can be made to the court. The court considers the consent of the guardian or custodian and the benefit of the child when making a decision.

Minors and restricted individuals who have the power of discernment cannot incur debt with their own transactions without the consent of their legal representatives. However, for minors under the age of 18 to file a name change lawsuit, they can authorize a lawyer through their parents or guardians.

Identity Renewal After Name Change

In Turkish Law, the process of renewing identity after a name change is a procedure to officially accept your new name and update your identity documents. Here are the general steps of this process:

1 – Application to the Population Directorate: After your name change is approved by a court decision, you must first apply to the Population Directorate of your province for new identity documents. Here, you will be asked to submit the necessary documents and the court decision for the name change.

2 – Filling Out the Identity Application Form: When you apply to the Population Directorate, you will be given an application form for identity renewal. You need to fill out this form and provide the necessary information.

3 – Biometric Data Recording: During the identity renewal process, your biometric data (fingerprint, photo) will need to be taken. This data will be used for the security of your identity card.

4 – Payment of Identity Card Fee: A certain fee must be paid for the identity renewal process. The payment can usually be made at the Population Directorate.

5 – Delivery of the Identity Card: After your application, your new identity card will be prepared and delivered to you within a certain period (usually a few weeks).

During the identity renewal process, you will need to submit your old identity documents and the court decision for your new name. As a result of this process, your name change will be officially recorded, and your new name will appear on your updated identity documents. Updating these documents is important to avoid any issues in your official transactions and daily life.

Official Gazette Name Change Announcement

In Turkish Law, after the name change procedures are completed, it is necessary to announce the changed name officially in the Official Gazette.

The Official Gazette is the official publication of the Republic of Turkey, where legal announcements, laws, regulations, decrees, announcements, and other official documents are published. Here are the details about the name change announcement in the Official Gazette:

Announced by Court Decision: After obtaining a court decision for a name change, it is necessary to announce this change in the Official Gazette. The new name, changed surname, and the name of the court stated in the court decision are included in this announcement.

Announcement Process: The announcement regarding the name change is made within a certain period following the finalization of the court decision. The date of the announcement is calculated from the date specified in the court decision.

Announcement Text: The announcement text usually includes information about the changed name. The new name, old name, changed surname, and other details related to the court decision are included in the announcement text.

Purpose of the Announcement: The purpose of the announcement is to ensure the formality of the name change and to inform the public about this change. This ensures the legal and official validity of the name change.

Importance of the Announcement: The name change announcement made in the Official Gazette proves the formality of the name change. This announcement makes it possible for the changed name to be legally accepted and used in official transactions.

In summary, after the name change procedure is completed, it is mandatory to announce the changed name in the Official Gazette. This announcement proves the formality of the name change and ensures its usability in official transactions.

Requests to Use Surname After Divorce and Court Authority

According to the Turkish Civil Code, women have the right to use their former husband’s surname after divorce. However, certain procedures must be followed for these requests to be met. Here are the details about requests to use a surname after divorce and court authority:

Right to Use Surname After Divorce: According to the Turkish Civil Code, women have the right to use their former husband’s surname after divorce. However, to exercise this right, it must be specifically stated in the divorce decision after the divorce decision becomes final.

Specified in the Court Decision: During the divorce case, the woman can convey her request to use her former husband’s surname to the court. If the court finds this request appropriate, it can specify in the divorce decision that the woman has the right to use her former husband’s surname. However, if the court does not specify this right, the woman cannot use her former husband’s surname.

Making the Request at a Later Date: If the woman’s right to use her former husband’s surname is not specified in the divorce decision, she can apply to the court at a later date to exercise this right. However, in this case, the court must evaluate and approve this request.

Court Authority: The court where the divorce case is heard has the authority to evaluate the woman’s requests to use her former husband’s surname. Therefore, women must submit these requests to the relevant court.

In the case of a request to use a former husband’s surname after divorce, the competent court is the Family Court. Additionally, there is a statute of limitations that must be taken into account for these requests.

In summary, according to the Turkish Civil Code, women have the right to use their former husband’s surname after divorce. However, to exercise this right, it must be specified in the divorce decision or later with a court decision. These requests are evaluated by the relevant court and, if found appropriate, the woman’s surname is changed.

Contents of Name and Surname Changes

Changing a name includes not only adopting an entirely new name but also adding, removing, or changing a letter of the existing name. However, what constitutes a valid reason can vary for each case. This evaluation should consider the special reasons presented by the parties to the case. These special reasons should be assessed according to the individual’s status, social situation, and family relationships.

What is a Name Change and Surname Change Lawsuit?

The name change and surname change lawsuit is a type of lawsuit that arises from the need to choose a name and surname voluntarily. The name change lawsuit is a legal process that every citizen can apply for. However, there is no guarantee that every case will result in your favor. For a person to change their name legally, they must have valid legal reasons.

Conditions for Filing a Name Change Lawsuit

The most basic requirement for filing a name change lawsuit is the existence of a valid reason. However, this lawsuit can only be concluded if there is a valid reason. Although the situations considered as valid reasons are not specified in the law, courts generally accept the following situations as valid reasons:

If the name contains a meaning contrary to traditions or customs,

If the name is ridiculed or funny,

If the name is difficult to pronounce or written in an inappropriate manner or not pronounced,

If the person is known or wants to be known by another name,

If the name causes confusion because it is used by more than one person,

If the person wants to change their name because a family member has committed a crime or has a bad reputation,

If the person changes their religion or nationality,

If the person undergoes a gender change,

If the name has negative connotations in the person’s private, commercial, or professional life.

The new name to be chosen must comply with certain rules. For example, it should not contain characters that are not in the Turkish alphabet. However, there is no harm in using a foreign name. For example, while the name “Alex” is not accepted, the name “Aleks” can be accepted.

The same conditions apply to changing children’s names. However, changing the names of children or newborns may differ.

In the name change lawsuit, the proof of a valid reason can be provided with various pieces of evidence. Especially in arbitrary name changes, witness statements and documents supporting the name change can be presented to the court. What is important is that the valid reason is presented clearly and explicitly to the court and that the process is followed correctly.

Valid Reasons in Name and Surname Change Lawsuits

According to Article 27 of the Turkish Civil Code, a name and surname change lawsuit can only be filed based on valid reasons. These reasons are assessed in a wide range. Various subjective reasons for changing a name or surname and their legal evaluation are discussed below.

According to the Civil Code, changing a name can only be requested from the judge if there are valid reasons. Therefore, a name change cannot be carried out without a court decision. Before filing a lawsuit for a name change, an application must be made within three years under certain conditions. These conditions may include incorrect writing of the surname, non-compliance with public morality, or being considered funny.

When it is necessary to change the name or surname adopted by the person, there may be a valid reason. These reasons generally include:

Presentation of personal and valid reasons,

Decision of the judge regarding the incident,

The reasons put forward and the new name to be adopted must comply with social norms and laws,

It must not harm or offend others.

Special and valid reasons may include situations such as the name evoking a bad reputation, being humiliating, funny, or ugly, feeling a necessity due to a change in nationality or religion, being an obstacle to the person’s progress, or being related to commercial activities.

In the name change lawsuit, the opinion of the Atatürk Cultural, Language, and History High Institution should also be sought regarding the nature of the name to be changed.

Competent Court in Name Change and Surname Change Lawsuits

The request for changing a name is regulated as a non-contentious jurisdiction matter in Article 382 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Also, according to Article 36 of the Population Services Law, cases related to name and surname changes are heard in civil courts of first instance. Under this heading, the courts where name change and surname change cases are heard and the points to be considered are discussed.

Competent Court in Name Change and Surname Change Lawsuits

According to Article 36 of the Population Services Law, correction cases related to population records are filed in the civil court of first instance where the applicant resides.

Plaintiffs in Name Change and Surname Change Lawsuits

Plaintiff: The person requesting a name change holds the status of the plaintiff. Since the name change is a right strictly attached to the person, the person whose name is to be changed is called the plaintiff. Additionally, the situation of filing a lawsuit with the parents’ custody of persons without litigation capacity is also examined.

Defendants in Name Change and Surname Change Lawsuits

Defendant: In name change lawsuits, cases are filed against the Population Directorate, and the Public Prosecutor also takes part in the case as an interested party.

Proof in Name Change and Surname Change Lawsuits

In Turkish law, proof in name change and surname change lawsuits means proving to the court that the requested change must be made for a valid reason. The plaintiff must prove that the request for change has a legal and legitimate reason.

Proof is the total of the evidence presented by the plaintiff to support the reasons and claims for the change. Proof in name or surname change lawsuits is usually provided in the following ways:

Documents: The plaintiff can rely on documents to support the reasons for the name or surname change. For example, documents showing personal status, family background, profession, or social status can be presented.

Witness Statements: The plaintiff can present witness statements to support the change request. Witnesses can convey their observations and experiences to the court about the need for the plaintiff’s name or surname change.

Expert Opinions: Experts can present opinions to support the plaintiff’s request. For example, psychologists, sociologists, or linguists can present their views on the necessity of changing the plaintiff’s name or surname from a psychological, sociological, or linguistic perspective.

Legal Grounds: The plaintiff can provide the legal basis for the name or surname change from laws or relevant legislation. Especially, special situations or rights specified in the laws can support the plaintiff’s request.

Proof is important to show the court that the plaintiff’s request is legally grounded and made for a valid reason. Proof must be carefully prepared and presented to support the plaintiff’s claims and convince the court.

 

Importance of Witnesses in Name Change and Surname Change Lawsuits

In Turkish law, witness statements in name change and surname change lawsuits are situations where witnesses testify in court to support or oppose the plaintiff’s request. Witnesses can be parties to the case or people outside who have knowledge related to the case.

In name change and surname change lawsuits, witnesses usually testify in the following ways:

Supporting Witnesses: The plaintiff can present witness statements to support the request for a name or surname change. These witnesses convey their personal observations and experiences about the need for the plaintiff’s name or surname change to the court. For example, family members, friends, or colleagues can provide information about the reasons and necessity for the plaintiff’s name or surname change.

Defendant’s Witnesses: The defendant or relevant administrative institutions can also bring their witnesses to the court. These witnesses can present counterarguments by opposing or rejecting the plaintiff’s request. For example, a family member or acquaintance of the person requesting a surname change can question or reject the reason for the request.

Witness statements are considered and evaluated by the court. Witness statements can be important evidence to support or oppose the plaintiff’s request. However, witness statements are also evaluated along with other evidence, and it is important for the court to consider all evidence together when making the final decision.

Objection and Appeal in Name Change Lawsuits

Individuals who are harmed by the change of name can object to the decision of name change. Correction cases related to population records can be filed by individuals or official institutions through public prosecutors. These cases are filed and concluded in the civil court of first instance that made the change decision. However, the objection of the person harmed by the name change will be evaluated in the civil court of first instance in the place of residence, not in the court that made the change decision.

 

Example Supreme Court Decision on Name Change Lawsuit

COURT: Civil Court of First Instance

TYPE OF CASE: Change of Name

In the case between the parties as explained above, after the trial held, the court rejected the case, and upon the plaintiff’s appeal of the decision, the file was examined, and it was considered necessary.

DECISION

In the petition, the plaintiff requested to change his name by adding the name …. to the name Adil; the court decided that the name Adil used by the plaintiff was not derogatory, ridiculous, or a subject of mockery, there was no difficulty in understanding and pronouncing the existing name, it did not contain a negative feature, and the request was rejected on the grounds that it was not sufficient reason for a name change, only because he wanted to use the name …. suitable for his profession. The decision was appealed by the plaintiff.

According to Article 27 of the Turkish Civil Code, it is stated that the name change can only be requested from the judge based on valid reasons, and when the name is changed, it will be registered and announced in the population registry, and changing the name does not change the personal status; the person harmed by this change can file a lawsuit to cancel the change decision within one year from the date they learn about it. The witness heard confirmed the plaintiff’s request, and the plaintiff’s request to change his name was based on a valid reason. It was not considered appropriate to reject the case with an inappropriate reason, considering that there would be no confusion when the change decision was finalized and reported to the relevant places, and the witness statement.

RESULT: For these reasons, the decision was found to be incorrect, and the appeal objections were accepted, and the decision was overturned by a unanimous vote on 12.04.2018, based on Article 428 of the former Civil Procedure Law No. 1086 by referring to Article 3 of the Provisional Law No. 6100.

8HD, Case No: 2017/7435, Decision No: 2018/11219, Date: 12.04.2018

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