The Position of Genetic Father under Turkish Paternity LawŞirin Aydıncık Midyat
As in many legal systems, the establishment of a legal paternal relationship between a father and a child under TurkishSwiss law is not directly based on genetic lineage. Turkish law, however, generally allows the establishment of a legal paternal relationship between a genetic father and a child. Adoption aside, Turkish law relies on three process to establish legal paternity, marriage with the mother, recognition, and court decision. Under Turkish law a child can only have legal paternity with one male thus, where a child has an existing legal paternity with a non-genetic father it must be annulled first in order to establish a legal paternity between the child and the genetic father. This study looks firstly at the establishment of a legal paternal relationship between a child and a father under Turkish law and the role of being a genetic father in this respect. In the following part, how to challenge a paternal relationship that has been previously established between a child and a non-genetic father is discussed. In this context, the right of the genetic father to challenge the presumption of the husband’s paternity under Turkish Civil Code No. 4721 is discussed in detail (TCC art. 291/I). Finally, it is contemplated whether a genetic father has a right to determine his paternity without legal consequences within the scope of his personal rights and whether he can establish a personal relationship with a child within the scope of TCC art. 325 in the absence of legal paternity. The position of genetic father under Turkish paternity law is examined in general by taking into account the developments in other countries, in particular under Swiss and German laws.
Genetik Babanın Türk Soybağı Hukukundaki YeriŞirin Aydıncık Midyat
Pek çok hukuk düzeninde olduğu gibi Türk-İsviçre hukukunda da baba ile çocuk arasındaki hukuki soybağının kurulması doğrudan genetik soybağına dayandırılmamıştır. Bununla birlikte Türk hukuku kural olarak genetik baba ile çocuk arasında hukuki soybağı ilişkisinin kurulmasına imkan tanımaktadır. Evlat edinme bir kenara bırakılacak olursa, baba ile çocuk arasındaki hukuki soybağının kurulması bakımından Türk hukukunda ana ile evlilik, tanıma ve babalık davası yolları öngörülmüştür. Ancak bizim hukukumuzda çocuğun sadece tek bir erkekle hukuki soybağı tesis edilebileceğinden, önceden hukuken başka bir erkekle soybağının bulunması durumunda çocuk ile genetik babası arasında hukuki soybağının kurulabilmesi için öncelikle mevcut hukuki soybağı ilişkisinin sonlandırılması gerekecektir. Bu çalışmada öncelikle Türk hukukunda çocukla babası arasında hukuki soybağı ilişkisinin kurulması ve bu bakımdan genetik baba olmanın rolü ele alınmış, devamında önceden çocukla genetik baba dışında başka bir erkekle kurulmuş olan bir hukuki soybağı ilişkisi söz konusuysa bunu sonlandırmanın yolları ve özellikle genetik babanın var olan hukuki soybağını sonlandırmaya ne şekilde etki edebileceği konuları üzerinde durulmuştur. Bu kapsamda özellikle 4721 sayılı Türk Medeni Kanunu’nda yer alan genetik babanın soybağının reddi davası açma hakkı ayrıntılı olarak ele alınmıştır (MK 291/I). Son olarak genetik babanın soybağı davaları dışında kişilik hakkı kapsamında herhangi hukuki bir sonucu olmaksızın babalığının tespitine yönelik bir hakkı bulunup bulunmadığı ve hukuki soybağı mevcut olmamasına rağmen MK 325 hükmü çerçevesinde çocukla kişisel ilişki kurup kuramayacağı konusu ele alınmıştır. Bu çalışmada genel olarak genetik babanın Türk soybağı hukukundaki yeri konusu özellikle İsviçre ve Alman hukukları başta olmak üzere diğer ülkelerdeki gelişmeler de dikkate alınarak incelenmiştir.
The relationship between genetic, social and legal paternity in family law is worth examining. As surrogacy and egg donation are not accepted in our law the distinction between genetic and legal maternity is not a feature in the establishment of parentage between mother and child. However, for historical reasons, the relationship between father and child, has always been controversial. As in many jurisdictions, the establishment of legal paternity between father and child under Turkish-Swiss law is not directly based on genetic ancestry.
As the determination of genetic paternity was not possible when the Civil Code was initially adopted in Turkey, it was necessary to distinguish between genetic ancestry and legal paternity based on external factors. Although with today’s scientific advances, especially developments in DNA analysis techniques, the determination of genetic paternity has become very easy. Nevertheless, under Turkish law, as in many countries, genetic paternity alone is not enough to establish legal parentage, since presumptions accepted in law, for a number of reasons, are preserved. In particular the presumption of a husband’s paternity.
As a result, within the framework of legal regulations, there are many situations where legal paternity is separated from genetic ancestry in the establishment of the paternal relationship between father and child. This separation is primarily due to the presumption that the husband to whom the mother was married at the time of birth is legally regarded as the father of a child, even if there is no genetic ancestry (TCC art. 285). As long as paternity, based on this legal presumption is not annulled the husband in the marriage remains the legal father, although he may not be the genetic father. It is accepted that in order to protect family unity the legislator has given priority to the moral/social paternal relationship over genetic ancestry.
Legal paternity and genetic ancestry are also separated when establishing legal paternity through recognition. Therefore, it is possible to establish legal paternity between a child and a father through recognition without a genetic relationship to the child. However, if the recognition is challenged before the courts and it is proven that the recognizing person is not the genetic father, the legally established paternity can be annulled. Unless such recognition is annulled, the recognizing person is legally registered as the father even if he may not be the genetic father. In addition, in establishing a legal paternal relationship through court decision, the lawmaker has deemed it sufficient that the probability of the defendant being a genetic father is equal to another man (TCC art. 302/III)1 . In all these cases, there may be differences between genetic ancestry and legal paternity.
Generally Turkish law allows a legal paternal relationship between the child and the genetic father to be established by marrying the mother, recognizing the child and/or by a court declaration. However, in cases where the establishment of such a legal paternal relationship is prevented despite the request of the genetic father, for example due to the fact that the child has a legal paternity with another male, the issue of establishing the legal paternity of the genetic father with the child is problematic under our law, as it is in many legal systems. In such cases, since the child can only establish a legal paternity with one single male, the existing legal paternal relationship must be annulled first in order to establish a legal paternity between the child and his genetic father.
In this respect, the role of the genetic father should also be examined. Under Turkish law, it is generally accepted that the genetic father has the right to file a challenge of recognition (TCC art. 298). In addition to this, the genetic father is also granted the right to challenge the presumption of husband’s paternity. The Turkish legislator, following the modern trend, has given the genetic father the right to file a lawsuit for annulment of the paternity of the husband under certain conditions (TCC art. 291/I). There is no such regulation in Switzerland and thus, the Turkish legislator’s granting of such a right has been extremely innovative in terms of Turkish-Swiss law. Innovative because under Turkish-Swiss law, a third party’s claim that he is the father of a child born in wedlock was considered a violation of the personal rights of the mother and husband. However, it has been concluded that this newly introduced provision does not adequately protect the genetic father’s right to challenge legal paternity and also does not take into account the interests of the child and the family. For this reason, it needs to be revised.