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Turkish brides score victory against bullying mothers-in-law

In a landmark judgment upending patriarchal traditions, a Turkish appeals court has ruled that sharing a home with a mother-in-law can be considered a legitimate reason for divorce.

Since time immemorial, mothers-in-law have been the source of marital distress and the subject of vilification and ridicule. In Turkey, the proverbial rivalry between a mother-in-law and a daughter-in-law is perhaps best illustrated in a popular folk song, which says the best way to deal with a mother-in-law is to “throw her in a boiling caldron” and “toss more wood in the fire” each time she screams for help. The dreadful mother-in-law described in the song may be fiction, but among Turkey’s 39.9 million women today, there remain many overbearing mothers-in-law who terrorize families and refuse to share their sons.

From the fictional "Game of Thrones" queen who had her daughter-in-law locked up to the real sultanas and queen mothers who waged bitter battles in Ottoman and Western courts, the image of the mother-in-law is rarely a flattering one. (Bad daughters-in-law are, of course, a separate issue.)

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