Turkish adviser faces heat over polygamy

Aug. 5, 2010 at 2:00 PM

ANKARA, Turkey, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- An adviser to the Turkish prime minister is facing challenges to his polygamous practices, authorities said.

Ali Yuksel, an adviser to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has three wives and has expressed his intention to marry a fourth, sparking criticism among Ankara government officials, Hurriyet Daily News reported Thursday.

Yuksel considers himself an Islamic authority, the Daily News reported.

Religious marriages or other liaisons with more than one woman are not considered a problem in the Justice and Development Party, known by its Turkish acronym AKP.

The ruling government tolerates polygamy within its community, said sociologist Yıldız Ecevit. "We know that some AKP deputies are already polygamous. This contradicts efforts to achieve equality between men and women. This practice challenges women's rights. They don't call it adultery. They justify polygamy with Islam."

Some interpretations of Islam maintain that Islam allows a man up to four wives as long as he can provide for all of them and treats them equally, the Daily News said.

In 2004, the AKP considered banning adultery but discontinued its efforts after receiving criticism from the European Union, the Daily News said.

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