Saturday, January 8, 2011

Turkish Men Becoming "Marriage Magnets" for Moroccan Women

Here is an article from Hurriyet, a Turkish paper about the rising number of Moroccan women marrying Turkish men, sometimes to be second wives.

SE Turkish men becoming marriage magnet for Moroccan women

Thursday, January 6, 2011
MARDİN - Doğan News Agency (DHA)

National boundaries and a distance of thousands of kilometers have proven no obstacle to love with hundreds of Moroccan women choosing to abandon their lives in North Africa for marriage, often as second wives, in Mardin.

During the past two years, more than 400 Moroccan women have moved to the southeastern province of Mardin to become the wives of Turkish men they met online, Doğan news agency, or DHA, reported earlier this week, adding that 150 Moroccan-Turkish couples tied the knot in the first 10 months of 2010.

The influx of Moroccan women began after villages in the area started opening their first Internet cafés. When the province’s Gökçe jurisdiction opened its first such location, local men – regardless of their marital status – began chatting with Moroccans over the Internet. Following marriage proposals, several moved to Mardin, in some cases accepting the existence of the men’s first wives who also live in the same house.

After two more Internet cafés opened in Gökçe, more local men reportedly found Moroccan women on Internet. In addition to several bachelors, 15 married men asked women to move to Turkey to live with them.

The transition for the Moroccans is easier because many of the villagers already speak Arabic thanks to their ethnic background.

Some 40 Moroccan women were said to be living in the province’s jurisdictions of Gökçe last year, up from the 15 previously.

In nearby Ortaköy, 10 Moroccan women have now taken up residency. Some of the women can reportedly speak Arabic, French, Spanish and English and many have university degrees.

Turkey does not legally recognize polygamous marriages but the practice still exists in some areas. Second wives are married in religious or cultural ceremonies and have few legal rights. However, because of their interpretation of Islamic beliefs, many of the women have said there is nothing wrong with being involved in a polygamous relationship.

First Moroccan brides in the district

Monia, who did not give her last name, was reportedly the first Moroccan bride to come to Gökçe. Calling her marriage to 36-year-old Halit Öncel “fortune,” she said she wanted to share her life with her new husband. Öncel already has a wife and 11 children from his first marriage.

Öncel said he first identified himself to Monia as a single man, but later told her the truth before proposing two months later. Monia accepted, and Öncel legally divorced his wife before legally marrying Monia. The new couple has a son, Yunus Emre, from the marriage, but continues to live together with the first wife and the other children.

Monia reportedly graduated from a religious university in Morocco and speaks French fluently.

Aziza Eroğlu, another Moroccan university graduate who was teaching French in a kindergarten in Morocco, also agreed to move and live in Mardin as a second wife to İskender Eroğlu.

“She fell in love with me and accepted all the consequences,” said Eroğlu, adding that because of his first marriage, his marriage to Aziza was not legal, but that the three lived together without problems.

“Despite her good life in Morocco, she came here because she fell in love,” he said.

Jamila, who also did not give her last name, was the first Moroccan woman to move to southeastern Turkey as a legal wife, according to official records. The woman, who speaks French and Spanish, worked at a textile factory until she met and agreed to marry Samir Bozdağ. Following a Moroccan-style wedding in the North African country, the couple settled in Gökçe.

Gökçe Mayor Haluk Çelik said all of the marriages were organized beyond the municipality’s control. “Our Moroccan wives, who on average speak three languages, attend Turkish literacy courses organized by the Kızıltepe Public Training Center.”

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