Circumcision in Turkey | Circumcision for Boys in Turkey

circumcision in turkey

Traditional Sunnet Outfit

The other week we were invited to attend a Circumcision Party, unfortunately the weather went against us and the party was cancelled. I had planned to write about the Party however I thought it might still be good to write about Circumcision in Turkey, why it’s done and the significance of it in Turkish Culture and the decision that has to be made between mixed cultured families.


If you are a parent of a little boy like me the topic of circumcision will no doubt have already been discussed. Your Turkish partner if he is Muslim will most likely want to have his child circumcised. However you may be feeling that you don’t want this procedure as it’s not required in your religion or you don’t want your little boy to suffer any pain no matter how small.


Over 60% of the worlds population are Circumcised and 85% of those that are circumcised are Muslim males. Male Circumcision in the Muslim Culture existed before the birth of the Prophet Mohammed. To be circumcised is part of the Sunah the way of the Prophet Mohammed and is seen as rite of passage for a young boy and one of the steps towards becoming a Man and showing his devotion to his religion.


Sunnet parties are held every year in Turkey in early summer. A Sünnet party is a party to celebrate the circumcision of a male child. Often than not if a family has more than one male they will wait until both boys are of an appropriate age and hold a joint party in order to save some money as the whole affair is not a cheap day.


You will often see cars parading around town tooting their horns with white towels hanging from the car this is a tradition of the circumcision. In Dikili where my husband is from and smaller towns you will often see the boy(s) who are being circumcised in a little horse and carriage dressed in white robes with a little sceptre n the fashion of the old ottomans. This dress is traditional for all boys to wear during their Sünnet.


Most celebrations are held over two days with a party in the evening of the first day and the 2nd day, normally in the morning when the circumcision takes place. Before the circumcision a pray is recited which is called “Mevlüt” and is about the Prophet Mohammed. If it is a traditional Sünnet the child will lie on a white bed where the ceremony is done with family and friends looking on. The child will then be given Gold, Money and Presents to celebrate the day.


Not every family follows the traditional way some choose to have their boy circumcised as a new born or later on at hospital avoiding the party and having the procedure take place in hospital, in a safe and clean environment.


My husband and I have discussed the matter of circumcision and made the decision to have our little boy circumcised this year at hospital. Much to our surprise one day my Mother in Law called to say our nephew had just been circumcised, she then went on to tell us to make sure we have our little boy circumcised early as our nephew had found it very painful. This surprised us but also please us that she is happy for us to not take the traditional path.


Our reason behind having a our little boy circumcised are less to do with religion and more to do with the Culture he is being brought up in. I have already said in an earlier article we will allow him to choose his own path however we both feel that if he is not circumcised this could lead to problems at school and later on in his life, like bullying. If we choose not to go through with the circumcision in our minds we are making him different to his peers and instead of helping him we could be making life harder for him.


However I do understand it can be a big point of conflict in a mixed culture home and hard for mothers to allow their child to have the operation due to worry that it will hurt and give problems to their child.


For me if you plan to bring your boy up in a culture where it is seen as the norm and by not being circumcised could lead to bullying and feeling different amongst peers then I would rather it was done early on where he has no memory of it taking place.


What are your thoughts? Is having your child circumcised a point of conflict in your home?

Are you a male and have been circumcised what’s your point of view?


© 2012 – 2015, Kerry Arslan. All rights reserved.

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11 Responses to “Circumcision in Turkey | Circumcision for Boys in Turkey”

  1. 26th May 2012

    Brian Reply

    Very good article, and well balanced view.

  2. 27th May 2012

    Ayak Reply

    I agree with your views on this. I think it’s important to adopt the traditions and culture of the country that has become your home. And I do thik it’s wise to have it done in hospital,when the boy is a baby. Much less traumatic.

  3. 6th June 2012

    Catherine Yiğit Reply

    Just had our son circumcised 2 weeks ago. It all went smoothly and he’s pretty much fully recovered now. Our reasons were similar to yours, with the addition that he also may have needed one anyway (dr refused to do it at age 4 saying he was too young and also his problem may solve with time). At 6.5 years he was physically and mentally ready. Cultural conditioning counts for a lot, he was very brave about the whole process. The big Lego set waiting for him at home also helped distract him! We haven’t had a party but may do something when we visit DH’s family over the summer.

  4. 17th May 2013

    Jassim Reply

    Hi Kerry,

    Great post. I would just add a link from Mayo Clinic (A reputed institution) on the health benefits of circumcision which might help parents take a better informed decision and as a father of a 14 month boy my 2 cents on the subject is that the earlier (within a week after birth) the less pain the baby has to go through…

    • 19th May 2013

      Kerry Arslan Reply

      Thank you very much Jassim, I like the Mayo Clinic have helped me solve a few issues in the past! I really wish we had got our boy done when he was born, I think maybe this summer we will see about sorting it all out, though I think it is me that keeps putting it off!! Better to get it done now before its something to stay in his memory!

  5. 20th December 2013

    Selen Evans Reply

    Hi there, I believe taht boys should not be circumcised for non medical reasons. What if something goes wrong? How would a mother explain it to the boy when he gets older? After all it is an operation and every operation has different risks… I did not care about it when I was single but when I married an English guy I made a lot of research on this matter. Now I know it has nothing to with religion nor with health, but culture. And boys don’t need any operation their body is perfect, yes there might be bullying that a true… But in the future of he wants he can get it done. With his free will

    • 27th December 2013

      Kerry Arslan Reply

      It really is such a person decision and one to be made as a family. Everyone has their own ideas and thoughts about which is what makes it so controversial. As parents we just do what we think is right for out kids.

  6. 11th August 2014

    Hans Reply

    Yeah, sure who cares it is just only male genital mutilation, so who cares !
    Did you circumcise yourself Kerry ? Since your are promoting this barbaric procedure, you should start with yourself, to see the difference.

  7. 3rd June 2018

    Martin Reply

    How ironic that you are mentioning a “person decision” while justifying forced genital mutilation. It is *your* decision to butcher your son’s genitals not his.

    In my mind the circumcision of minors should be illegal, because it is unconsented.

  8. 20th July 2020 Reply

    I’m circumcised and I did not agree to this. If it had been up to me I would noty have done this. I prefered to have my penis intact.

    You said “Over 60% of the worlds population are Circumcised and 85% of those that are circumcised are Muslim males”. Those sounds like big numbers. You should check your numbers.

    Based on WIkipedia ( “In 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated 30% of adult males worldwide (aged 15+) are circumcised, with about two-thirds of those being Muslims. Those are very different numbers to yours.

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