Blame it on Modernization and Urbanization
Yet another country is waking up to the fact that divorce is a fact of modern life and as a nation becomes more modern, the divorce rate will increase in step. Now it is Turkey’s turn as data released by the Turkish Statistics Institute shows that divorce rates in that country have gone up 6 percent between the months of October and December in 2010 alone. The central Anatolian region of Turkey had the highest overall divorce rates in the nation with a 17 percent increase in the same period. While many noted the jump was a pretty big increase for one quarter alone, others say that there is no need for alarm at the rising rate of divorce in Turkey.
Professor Yasin Aktay, a professor of sociology from SelÃ§uk University, says that there is no need for alarm at the rising rate of divorce in Turkey because the rising divorce rate is simply an indicator of Turkey’s increasing modernization and urbanization. Professor Aktay was quoted saying “There is an increase in individualization and urbanization and parallel to an increase in urbanization is an increase in divorce rates. This should not be viewed as very serious.” The Professor also said it should not be surprising that the divorce rates are the highest in the Aegean region because the Aegean is more open, cosmopolitan and individualism is highly valued in the region. Professor Aktay thinks
Turkish society is even more conservative about divorce than traditional Islamic societies and that the attitude has nothing to do with religion at all. “Divorce is not seen as taboo in traditional Islamic societies where both women and men divorce more freely, as was evident in the time of the Prophet of Islam,” Aktay said.
The data from the Turkish Statistics Institute showed that most Turkish divorce occur in the first five years of marriage because divorce becomes more difficult after a couple has children or spends time developing effective ways of living with each other. Aktay’s view is that divorce is always more difficult when families are involved, because families always advise couples to stay together. “When we look beyond five years, couples learn the art of dealing with each other. While in the first five years they see it as easier to turn back, while the road is still close, couples who cross this threshold learn how to carry on despite the circumstances. Children are also a mechanism that restrains people from seeking divorce,” he said. As further indication of increasing modernization, the number of people getting married in Turkey is showing rapid declines at the same time the number of divorces is increasing. It appears that Turkey will have to learn to live with the complications of modernization and urbanization, including an increased rate of divorce, if the nation is to move forward into the 21st century.