Duress as Reason for Relative Nullity of Marriage in Turkish Civil Law

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Köroğlu E.

ISTANBUL HUKUK MECMUASI, vol.80, no.3, pp.925-966, 2022 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 80 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.26650/mecmua.2022.80.3.0007
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.925-966
  • Keywords: Marriage, Declaration of Will, Duress, Relative Nullity, Action for Annulment
  • Eskisehir Osmangazi University Affiliated: No


Marriage occurs when a marriage official asks each of the persons to be married whether they want to marry each other and these two persons make a positive declaration of will. However, in order for a marriage to be valid, the desire of each spouse to marry must be formed free of any pressure. In some cases, a spouse may have been forced to enter an unwanted marriage as a result of duress from the other spouse or a third party. Duress is a defect in the formation stage of will and is legally regulated in Art. 151 of the Turkish Civil Code (TCC) as a reason for relative nullity of marriage. TCC Art. 151 states that a spouse who is persuaded to marry through threat of imminent and serious harm to their own or a relative's life, health, honor, or dignity may file a lawsuit for annulment of the marriage. As is seen, although a marriage made under duress is crippled by relative nullity, it is not automatically invalidated. A lawsuit for relative nullity must be filed by the threatened party to ensure the annulment of the marriage. Legislation subjects the filing of a relative nullity lawsuit based on duress to certain periods as per Art. 152 of the TCC. Accordingly, the threatened spouse's right to file an annulment case ends after six months, starting from the date the effect of the duress disappears, but in any event within five years of the marriage. Upon a court's decision to annul a marriage due to duress, the marriage ends proactively (ex nunc), and the marriage bears all the results of a valid marriage up to the judge's decision (TCC Art 156).