Thursday, November 27, 2014

Erdoğan and Women

I am reading up on what exactly the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that is so offensive to women, and have to admit much of it isn't (some, yes).

  • He bemoaned the fact that women in rural Anatolia do much of the manual labour while their husbands "play cards in the local coffee house".
  • He said Islam requires the men to provide for the family, not the women.
  • He said women are not the same as men (note: this is translated as "equal", but doesn't mean the same thing).
  • He advised women to have at least three children.
  • He said a true believer of Islam will never commit a violence against women.
  • He said Paradise lies under a mother's feet.

So what exactly is offensive? He didn't try to outlaw abortion again (he tried it once and failed), he never tried to outlaw women's employment, he never tried to outlaw women's education (in fact his party repealed the law that banned headscarves in universities which empowered more women to seek education, and similarly they repealed the ban on headscarves in Parliament so now more conservative women are now MPs).

Yes, some words of what he said ("women are more suited for home because of their delicate bodies") smacks of patriarchy and is offensive. But actions speak louder and Turkey has grown in leaps and bounds (men and women) under his leadership. When the "secular" army banned observant Muslim women from campuses, Parliament and other government institutions I did not hear of any feminist being offended, so stop being hypocritical now.


Khanum said...

If anyone would ask me to tell them about Turkish people, I would sincerely say its funny because they are so difficult to comprehend. At least for me. I have been working with the religious class of the Turks and trust me, I still haven't figured out who they are actually. I mean, they are different for sure, the secular and religious classes are way different in their manners and thoughts but boy oh boy! They act like ONE strong people when it comes to their country's honor. I guess they have found a way to co exist. This is what I figured out during my time in Istanbul.

mezba said...

I think it's great that Turkey is finally learning to accept (and be proud of) its Ottoman and Islamic past, rather than trying to run on some secular ideal.

Anonymous said...


Yes definitely! I agree with this. If only Bangladeshis would be like this. I've seen Bangladeshis here in the UK put down efforts to build a mosque in Bangladesh but are happy to do so for Afghanistan or Jordan. We may not all agree with the leadership there, but can we at least support the ordinary people.

mezba said...

One thing about politicians almost everywhere in the civilized world - they can disagree but still be united for the country's cause.