Duvar English

The Council of State, the highest administrative court in Turkey, has rejected a demand that a provision which forbids unmarried couples to stay in the same room in teacher’s houses (“öğretmenevi” in Turkish) be suspended.

The case concerns a lawyer who wanted to stay a night with her boyfriend at a teacher’s house in Istanbul’s Silivri district on March 20 of this year, the news website Habertürk reported on Dec. 22. Teacher’s houses, found in almost every city in Turkey, are government-run institutions, which serve as affordable guesthouses.

The Silivri Teacher’s House management declined the lawyer’s request, saying that the two could stay at the hotel at only separate rooms, as per the relevant regulation.

This situation led the lawyer to file a lawsuit at the Council of State, demanding that the relevant provision of the Education Ministry’s Teacher’s House Regulation be cancelled. She said in her petition although law requires that one should submit their identification card while checking into a hotel, the submission of a marriage certificate is not obligatory. Her petition said, “A discrimination is being undertaken between married and unmarried couples [with the relevant regulation]; this situation is against the principle of equality; and the principle of respect for private life is being violated.”

The Council of State has then taken the Education Ministry’s and Silivri district governorate’s defenses. In its defense, the ministry said vocational school students were working as inters at the teacher’s houses, whereas the district governorate said the procedure was undertaken in line with the relevant regulation.

In a recent ruling, the Council of State has rejected the lawyer’s demand that the relevant provision be suspended. The court will give its decision regarding the lawyer’s demand that the relevant provision be annulled in a separate ruling later.