The legal framework of circumcision in turkish law

AuthorPinar Memis Kartal
PositionAssoc. Prof. Dr. Galatasaray University, Faculty of Law, Lecturer in the Department of Criminal Law and Criminal Procedural Law; (e-mail:
The circumcision of a male child has not been a concept discussed in Turkish law before today.
However, recently, particularly based upon the decision rendered by the German criminal court, the
jurists have started to focus on the evaluation of circumcision from a legal point of view and the
criminal law dimension of the topic has been discussed
1 in particular. On the other hand, female
circumcision is a practice which is not accepted either in the traditional or legal sense.
Keywords: circumcision, corporal integrity, religious rule, law provisions.
Circumcision is a practice which is
characterized as a religious rule particularly
in Muslim and Jewish societies. Therefore,
even if it is accep ted as a reflection of
freedom of religion and conscience, the
scope of the topic is extensive. Particularly n
cases where such a practice, which indeed
interferes with corporeal integrity, is
performed on a male child whose permission
is not bound with legal results due to his age,
the discussion concentrates on the rights of
the person upon his corporeal and spiritual
presence. Considering also that the limit of
this is specified as medical necessity, it is
seen that there is a legal dilemma. Within
this respect in order for the topic to be
clarified and for the purposes of
determination of the legal nature of
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Galatasaray University, Faculty of Law, Lecturer in the Department of Criminal Law and
Criminal Procedural Law; (e-mail:
NUHOĞLU Ayşe, Sünnet ve C eza Hukuku, in: Prof.Dr. Nur Centel’e Armağan, T.C. Marmara Üniversitesi
Hukuk Fakültesi Hukuk Araştırmaları Dergisi, Özel Sayı, Yıl:2013, Cilt: 19, Sayı:2, sh. 211-219; YERDELEN
Erdal, Sünneti Kasten Yaralama Suçu Olarak Kabul Eden Köln Eyalet Mahkemesi Kararı ve Alman Kanun
Koyucunun Karara Tepkisi, in: Kamu Hukuku Arşivi Dergisi, Y: 16, S:1-32, 2013-1, sh. 1-8.
BAYRAKTAR Köksal, Hekimin Tedavi Nedeniyle Cezai Sorumluluğu, Sermet Matbaası, İstanbul, 1972, sh. 23.
ÖZBEK Veli Özer/KANBUR Mehmet Nihat/ DOĞAN Koray/ BACAKSIZ Pınar/ TEPE İlker, Türk Ceza
Hukuku Genel Hükümler, 5.Baskı, Seçkin, Ankara 2014, sh.90-91.
circumcision, it is of importance to firstly
explain a person’s right to protect his/her
corporeal integrity and li mits thereof in
Turkish law.
It is clearly established under T urkish
law that the corporeal integrity of a person
cannot be violated and that a person has right
to life and is entitled to pro tect and improve
his/her co rporeal and spiritual e xistence.
Likewise, it is also provided for that the
interference to corporeal integrity of a
person can only be possible under medical
and in cases prescribed by law and
that a perso n can onl y b e subjected to
scientific or medical experiments with
his/her consent. In our study, first of all the
state in Turkish law will be set out, and the
practice will be reflected afterwards

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